Sea change in climate journalism: The Guardian and the D-word

As we all know, the debate over global warming is contentious, often vitrolic. Labels are often applied by both sides. One the most distasteful labels is “denier”. I’m pleased to report that the UK paper The Guardian has taken on this issue headfirst.

In a recent email exchange with the Guardian’s James Randerson, where he discussed an outreach opportunity to climate skeptics via a series of stories on the Guardian website, I raised the issue with him.

From: “Anthony Watts <xxx@xxxx.xxx>

Date: Friday, February 19, 2010 11:13 AM

To: “James Randerson” <xxxx@xxxxx.xxx.xx>

Subject: Re: Guardian: CRU emails

Hello James,

Thanks for the response.

If the Guardian truly wishes to engage climate skeptics, I do have a piece of advice that will help tear down walls. Get the newspaper to go on record that they will never again use the label “deniers” in headlines or articles.

For example:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/cif-green/2010/feb/15/climate-science-ipcc-sceptics

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/mar/09/climate-change-deniers

And there are many others I could cite.

That simple, single act, recognizing that the term is erroneous, distasteful due to its holocaust denier connotation, and unrepresentative of the position on climate change of many who simply want the science to be right  and reasonable solutions enacted would be a watershed event in mending fences.

There’s no downside for the Guardian to do so that I can envision. It would  elevate the paper’s credibility in the eyes of many. The Guardian can lead  by example here.

Thank you for your consideration.

Best Regards,

Anthony Watts

Yesterday I received an email from him. It is my impression that he sent the suggestion out to other staff members and there was a discussion about it, which was written about here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/mar/01/climate-change-scepticism-style-guide

I excerpt the relevant paragraphs here, highlight mine:

We have been discussing such terminology, and some of my colleagues have suggested that Guardian style might be amended to stop referring to “climate change deniers” in favour of, perhaps, “climate sceptics”.

The editor of our environment website explains: “The former has nasty connotations with Holocaust denial and tends to polarise debate. On the other hand there are some who are literally in denial about the evidence. Also, some are reluctant to lend the honourable tradition of scepticism to people who may not be truly ‘sceptical’ about the science.” We might help to promote a more constructive debate, however, by being “as explicit as possible about what we are talking about when we use the term sceptic”.

Most if not all of the environment team – who, after all, are the ones at the sharp end – now favour stopping the use of denier or denialist (which is not, in fact, a word) in news stories, if not opinion pieces.

The Guardian’s environment editor argues: “Sceptics have valid points and we should take them seriously and respect them.” To call such people deniers “is just demeaning and builds differences”. One of his colleagues says he generally favours sceptic for news stories, “but let people use ‘deniers’ in comment pieces should they see fit. The ‘sceptics’ label is almost too generous a badge as very few are genuinely sceptical about the science but I think we have to accept the name is now common parlance.”

I applaud the editorial staff at the Guardian for taking this step, and even more so for having the courage to put it to print. I thank James Randerson for bringing the subject to discussion. I hope that other editorial staff and news outlets will take note of this event.

On that note let me say that we could all (and that includes me) benefit from the dialing back of the use of labels, and we should focus on the issues before us. There’s really nothing positive or factual to be gained from such labeling.

I call on readers of WUWT to reciprocate this gesture by The Guardian by refraining from labeling others they may disagree with here and at other web forums.

Let’s all dial back and treat others with the same respect in conversation as you might treat dinner guests having a discussion at home.

My position has been that there is no debate that the earth has warmed over the past 100+ years, but that the magnitude of the measured warming and the cause(s) remain in debate. The question of whether such warming is beneficial or detrimental depends on who you ask. I’ll also point out that it took our modern society about 150 years of science and technology advances to get where we are now. Doing it cleaner and better won’t be an overnight solution either.

There are also other pressing environmental issues which have been swallowed whole by the maelstrom of this worldwide climate debate and are getting the short shrift. The sooner we can settle it, the sooner we can get on to solving those.

UPDATE:

In related news, the nastiness of debate caused one long time blogger to close his discussion forum.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/science/article7043753.ece

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H.R.
March 2, 2010 10:59 am

“[…] My position has been that there is no debate that the earth has warmed over the past 100+ years, but that the magnitude of the measured warming and the cause(s) remain in debate. […]”
Yea, verily.

March 2, 2010 11:00 am

Well said Anthony. I believe everyone would be better served if the level of anger and name calling was lowered to a level where everyone could discuss the topics in mixed sitting again. The “climate wars” have lived up to their name.
Jack

Rhys Jaggar
March 2, 2010 11:00 am

Well said, well done and take a bow, Mr Watts. And the Guardian too.

Steve M. from TN
March 2, 2010 11:03 am

Hear hear!
Now if all newspapers and blogs would follow, maybe we could get something done.

Steve Goddard
March 2, 2010 11:04 am

I never understood how someone could “deny” the future as predicted by a computer model.
Are low-paid government computer programmers and climate scientists supposed to be some sort of gods who know the future?
“When people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing — they believe in anything.”
G K Chesterton

Sean Peake
March 2, 2010 11:05 am

It’s too light here to see how many moons are in the sky but that is an important concession—I doubt the ardent supports of the other side will refrain, though.
REPLY: Perhaps, but now there exists a lead by example reference that you can point them to. – Anthony

Bill Liss
March 2, 2010 11:06 am

Very classy move. Hopefully they will not…now and then…spell it incorrectly by using septic!

latitude
March 2, 2010 11:06 am

Dang
Nothing has hurt their “cause” more than words…..
…..and now they are going to stop using the words that do the most damage.

Philhippos
March 2, 2010 11:07 am

I entirely agree with the need for both sides to eliminate abuse and ad hominem attacks because at some point, now looking sooner than later, important people in politics and finance will realise that they have been being led up the garden path by AGW scare.
Experience tells us that few people like to admit that they were mistaken let alone hoodwinked. The more senior and public the positions of those being asked to agree that they were misled the less likely they are agree to make the admission. I have seen large corporations spend literally millions to ‘protect’ the reputations of senior directors so know of what I speak.
Trained negotiators know the vital importance of providing the potential mind-changer with a ladder that allows them to emerge from the hole they were in not looking as if they have been buried in ordure and smelling of it as well.
Being polite but absolutely firm with the opposition is without doubt the right policy to pursue henceforth. Keep to the moral high ground.

March 2, 2010 11:07 am

“and unrepresentative of the position on climate change of many who simply want the science to be right ”
Very good !!!!!
It is that simple !!!

Ian E
March 2, 2010 11:07 am

There is a petition to ask Brown to stop describing ‘sceptics’ as climate change deniers. (See http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Deniers/ ). Perhaps the Guardian could mention this petition in future articles?
p.s. to Messers Brown and Milliband : – Flat-Earthers is not very voter-friendly either?!

Aaron Jarboe
March 2, 2010 11:11 am

I’m very pleased to see this. Sometimes it’s hard to even believe that reasonable people continue to exist, and the fact that the Guardian has been introspective and logical about this give me hope for mankind. 🙂

wilt
March 2, 2010 11:16 am

Well done, both of you (Mr Watts and The Guardian). I really hope that the “extremists” on both sides will moderate their language, avoid personal attacks, and focus on the real issues as they are outlined by Mr Watts in his last two paragraphs.

Brian G Valentine
March 2, 2010 11:17 am

Someone in the Washington Post today heeded your guidance, evidently – calling me a “denialist” instead.
Neither myself not Richard Lindzen, object to being labeled a “denier”
The term has become associated with a certain set of convictions that, to my understanding, characterize mine

Allen C
March 2, 2010 11:18 am

That is a wonderful move!!
I have to wonder how he knows that “very few are genuinely sceptical”? Has a poll been taken? Has someone counted?

Sean Peake
March 2, 2010 11:18 am

Ian E: Quite right, though I’d rather be called a flat earther than be flat headed (or with a low sloping forehead at minimum) like the many rabid politicians. The former is kind of quaint and endearing, the latter, well.. says it all.

Bill Parsons
March 2, 2010 11:19 am

some of my colleagues have suggested that Guardian style might be amended to stop referring to “climate change deniers” in favour of, perhaps, “climate sceptics”.

Minimal acknowledgement of the dignity of the skeptical view seems better than none at all, even if its reluctant and half-hearted in tone, as if he were being asked to swallow some kind of bitter medicine. What it says to me is that your (very reasonable) suggestion is one he can no longer afford to ignore.
Keep up the good work Anthony.

Jeremy
March 2, 2010 11:19 am

FTA: “The ’sceptics’ label is almost too generous a badge as very few are genuinely sceptical about the science but I think we have to accept the name is now common parlance.”
Only now is skeptic in the common parlance? Funny, I thought the term came from waay back in the day of Pyrrho of Elis in ancient Greece referring to something known as “knowledgeable ignorance” which essentially means having an accurate grasp of reality through knowing what is not known.
In fact, it should really be an embarrassment to anyone who accepts the CAGW line that the word skeptic is used to describe those who disagree with them, it’s like admitting their own failure to grasp reality.

Philip Richens
March 2, 2010 11:19 am

It is very pleasing to see a little bit of good sense over at least this one. Reading through the Guardian article you linked, they still seem to have a very strange attitude that leaves me uncomfortably feeling that this is rather a hollow gesture.
“They describe themselves as sceptics, but this is plainly wrong, as they will believe any old rubbish that suits their cause.”
“Rather than opening itself to the charge of denigrating people for their beliefs…”
“The ‘sceptics’ label is almost too generous a badge as very few are genuinely sceptical about the science but I think we have to accept the name is now common parlance.”
Frankly, I’ve seen as much utter nonsense from the Guardian’s environment correspondents as I ever have in sceptic blogs. Anthony’s position seems pretty unassailable to me, and although well done the Guardian for agreeing to avoid the gross insults, I think they would do even better to try to approach the issue in a more inclusive and a less patronising manner.

jorgekafkazar
March 2, 2010 11:19 am

Kudos to The Guardian! And to Anthony Watts for pointing out an opportunity for The Guardian to progress.

March 2, 2010 11:20 am

Mr. Watts, I could fill many pages with passionate and substantiated arguments reflecting huge moral and logical problems related to the “mutual respect” approach toward those who knowingly commit fraud and legislate taxation on the basis of ideological propaganda in their unscrupulous pursuit of money and power.
It would suffice to say this, with all my respect toward you, personally:
I don’t invite to dinner those who regularly robbed me, deceived me, and insulted me.
No, sir.

Mark, Edinburgh
March 2, 2010 11:20 am

Mr. Watts and @Rhys Jagger 11.00.39
You should be aware that Guardian comments columns are heavily censored.
In particular they are careful to control informed and detailed sceptical comment.
Access is simply denied to commentators like “Bishop Hill”. I’m also barred possibly because my email address is interpreted as a paid fossil fuel industry lobbyist (incorrectly as it happens) .
When the Guardian lifts its censorship, reveals how many sceptics they have barred and apologise, then maybe they can take a bow. Not until.
REPLY: Let’s start with small steps first. -A

Anoneumouse
March 2, 2010 11:20 am

Oh gosh, you mean I have to be respectful to my dinner guests

Booty
March 2, 2010 11:20 am

I can see the headlines now:
“Climate Change Dis-believers Cry Foul Over the Use of the Word Denier”
🙁

Pascvaks
March 2, 2010 11:21 am

The Media will publish/air/show what the Politicians say. The Politicians will read/listen/watch what the Media publishes/airs/shows. The People are the last to be seen/heard/noticed by the Media and Politicians but they drive the whole mess. Ain’t life a beach?

Dave Aschim
March 2, 2010 11:22 am

As always, you set a fine example of not just tireless inquiry but behavior. Your example has helped me change my own tone (admittedly a work in progress!) in these debates. With daily outrage bombarding me, I can never hear often enough that I should take a deep breath and focus on the issues at hand. It’s easy for me to get side-tracked questioning other’s motivation, especially when it seems to be malicious. But motivations are very difficult to know with certainty, that’s why dealing with content is more productive.
Putting aside the emotions of guessing other’s motivation and focusing on content tests the character. That is why role models are useful to remind us how we aspire to behave. Dialing back is an important reminder for everyone and it is doubly important during the investigation of the scientists at the center of these controversies. If more investigations are to take place, a calm, reasoned and dispassionate climate will be necessary.

tangoactual
March 2, 2010 11:22 am

Agreed. I do not deny that the climate has warmed. I am skeptical about the “proof” that it is man-made and will result in catastrophic consequences. Especially in the face of natural climate shifts before mankind was even capable of widespread environmental impact.
So now if the two sides could agree to examine and clarify the bits we diverge on and leave politics behind we might all learn something new.

oakwood
March 2, 2010 11:22 am

This is great news and a great relief. I am a life-long Guardian reader, and have been in line with most of its views. I am also a scientist and environmentalist. Therefore, I have found it bizaar to be lumped with the accusations of ‘right wing, head-in-the-sand denier. The vitriol by many Guardian commentators against sceptics has been astounding. Let’s see how it goes. It will be interesting to see if George Moniot complies with this policy.

stephen richards
March 2, 2010 11:26 am

I am not inclined to forgive and forget the past activities of the Grauniad. They knew all along what they were doing. Their derisive remarks against well qualified scientists, many times more knowledgeable than them, were always unacceptable and against all principles of good, impartial journalism.
They should just resign or better still close the journal altogether. I despise people of this type who deliberately denegrate professional scientists for their own political beliefs. While I congratulate Anthony for his ability to forgive and work with these very decietful individuals I wouldn’t trust them any further than I could throw them.
Their newspaper is in grave financial danger and remains solvent only because of Autotrader which they are currently advertising for all they are worth. No doubt for good reason. They must be desperate if they must turn away from their beliefs, beliefs they have held and enforced for many years.

March 2, 2010 11:27 am

I believe this is a step in the right direction BUT, I do take issue with this…
“The ’sceptics’ label is almost too generous a badge as very few are genuinely sceptical about the science but I think we have to accept the name is now common parlance.”
how would they know that my (or any persons) skepticism is not genuine?

tony
March 2, 2010 11:28 am

At least they did not change the reference to environmentally challanged.

Dillon Allen
March 2, 2010 11:28 am

Thanks for engaging with the media Anthony. Being able to viciously debate a topic with respect between the two parties is absolutely necessary if we are to step back from the brink and really figure out what, if any, impact we are having on our planet.
RE – Ian E (11:07:45) : p.s. to Messers Brown and Milliband : – Flat-Earthers is not very voter-friendly either?!
I have always found flat-earthers one of the most ironic labels. Is it true that I have denied that man is certainly causing global warming? Yes. So denier or denialist (if one likes to make up words) would not be completely inappropriate, it just brings a bad connotation with it. However, as I was taught… the consensus in science was at one time that the earth was flat. Only after some skeptics denied this conventional wisdom, foresook the consensus at great personal discomfort, and made the case did it come to be obvious to the rest of the world that earth was a sphere.

Steve Goddard
March 2, 2010 11:30 am

I remember a Guardian story from the early 1970s where they stated that Los Alamos, NM was the site of the first A-bomb test.
I suspect that most of the residents living there would have “denied” the accuracy of that story. You can “deny” the past, but you can’t “deny” a future which has not yet happened.

zt
March 2, 2010 11:30 am

I agree that name calling is not good.
I am surprised, though, that these environmental journalists are so happy to go on record about their bias that ‘very few are genuinely sceptical’. This labels the majority of skeptics as disingenuous. This reveals an inherent bias which journalists should not have, and this indicates that the journalists are not aware that skepticism is a desirable quality in science. E.g. the first book on Chemistry (some argue) was called ‘The Skeptical Chemist’ (or some variation on that spelling – Boyle was British after all – and made up the spelling as he went – I am sure that the Guardian loved him) and pointed out some of the the problems with the ‘accepted’ ‘theories’ of the day.
Here’s the pertinent sentence:
“The ’sceptics’ label is almost too generous a badge as very few are genuinely sceptical about the science but I think we have to accept the name is now common parlance.”

L Nettles
March 2, 2010 11:31 am

Heck, I kinda liked being a lonely nutter.

brian
March 2, 2010 11:32 am

“My position has been that there is no debate that the earth has warmed over the past 100+ years, but that the magnitude of the measured warming and the cause(s) remain in debate.”
Is there a reliable set of raw temperature data that shows the warming over the last 100 years?

Viv Evans
March 2, 2010 11:32 am

Excellent.
An argument does not lose in force, rigour and validity when it is presented in polite terms – the more polite, the more forceful.
Shouters and those who use invectives have already lost the argument.
Sceptics don’t need to shout – the facts speak for themselves.

Kum Dollison
March 2, 2010 11:35 am

I’m not sure it’s gotten warmer. It hasn’t in Mississippi. Maybe everyone should go to their nearest Rural weather station that has a hundred year history, and find out if it’s warmer where they live. They might be surprised.

intrepid_wanders
March 2, 2010 11:35 am

So, “Warmer” or “CAGW Alarmist” would be a “Climate Campaigner”? More aggressive types in political organizations (WWF, Greenpeace, etc.) would not be afforded this courtesy, much like the reservation of the denier word for explicit “GW deniers” (Palin, Rush, etc.).
I commend your attempt Anthony, but it is going to be complicated for all sides.
REPLY: Consider what used to be a war zone in northern Ireland over religion. Fiery rhetoric, deaths, bombs, destruction, yet solved today. Yes our issue is complicated, but still one that can be resolved. -A

hunter
March 2, 2010 11:35 am

There needsto be more and low threshold ways for people who got caught up in the AGW social movement to disentangle themselves from it.
Graciousness from skeptics towards those who are essentially victims of AGW promoters is called for.
Just think of what Joe Romm does, and then do the exact opposite.

March 2, 2010 11:36 am

Nice job Anthony, now if you can just get them to put the ‘K’ back in skeptic.
I don’t know what to call advocates without using the word though.

AdrianS
March 2, 2010 11:36 am

Perhaps a more friendly term for “Deniers” would be Heretics ( ha ha).
Not much change in the policies in the UK of Brown, Millibrown, Camerbrown or Clugg, our leading policticians. Its all green and you’d better like it or else.
Dont think I’ll be voting when the UK Genreal Election comes

March 2, 2010 11:37 am

It’s interesting to see that George Monbiot’s “cut out and keep” denier cards are still available on the Guardian here:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/gallery/2009/mar/09/climate-change-deniers-monbiot-cards?picture=344343782
In my opinion, this was one of the low points in Monbiot’s career, but I am glad to see him now taking up some serious journalism, as in his recent piece on the feed-in tariff rip-off for Solar panels in the UK
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/mar/01/solar-panel-feed-in-tariff

Al Gore's Holy Hologram
March 2, 2010 11:39 am

Still not going to read the Guardian or even click a link to a Guardian page as long as George Monbiot, co-founder of Respect along with his friend the narcissistic, closet Islamist, bar brawler buddy of Saddam – George Galloway, is still employed by them.

PJB
March 2, 2010 11:39 am

When Phil Jones denies that he did anything untoward regarding FOI etc., does that qualify?
Seeing a temperature trend that correlated reasonably with the ever-constant rise in CO2 (allowing for the various forcing factors etc.) would tend to show that we might want to look at CO2 as a cause and potential remedy for climate warming (if really desirable).
Seeing model results that can’t predict their own initial conditions leaves me truly “skeptical” as to the value and accuracy of such methods. Knowing that large $um$ are in play concerning the investigation, elaboration and modification of CO2 and it’s climatic effects is another cause for “skepticism”.
That global temperature changes is a given. That the current change is “unusual” is certainly verifiable but only with accurate and reliable raw data.
Being part of the solution means knowing exactly what the problem is.

John Hooper
March 2, 2010 11:39 am

Mark, Edinburgh (11:20:07) :
Mr. Watts and @Rhys Jagger 11.00.39
You should be aware that Guardian comments columns are heavily censored.
In particular they are careful to control informed and detailed sceptical comment.
Access is simply denied to commentators like “Bishop Hill”. I’m also barred possibly because my email address is interpreted as a paid fossil fuel industry lobbyist (incorrectly as it happens) .

Nonsense. I’m registered with a disposable gmail address and hardly ever have a post censored. No more than any other paper.
Might depend on the columnist though.

kwik
March 2, 2010 11:41 am

This is not a problem in Norway at ALL. Because nothing is mentioned about all this in the news anyway.
hehe.
Anyway, I think the foreign minister of Norway , mr. Støre should say; Im sorry saying what I said, and for making an alliance with mr. Gore.
And I promise to stop calling them the Carbon Cult!
If they repend.

cmdocker
March 2, 2010 11:43 am

I think what we are talking here is censorship, a great deal can be gleaned from terminology, sticks n stones.

Lucy
March 2, 2010 11:43 am

I am not offended by the term “denier”, though it is misapplied. I am more offended by offense over labels. As far as I am concerned, EVERYTHING is open for question. It is when you stop questioning that you become a true denier.

kwik
March 2, 2010 11:43 am

And by Repend, I mean:
Remove all Carbon tax’es in Norway.Now.

D. King
March 2, 2010 11:44 am

I really, really don’t care what they call me anymore.

March 2, 2010 11:44 am

Bernie Sanders compares climate skeptics to Nazi deniers 
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0210/33371.html
Thanks to Marc Morano for this link
Listen and call in to the Thom Hartmann radio show every Friday at noon EST. The first hour that day of the week is called ‘Brunch with Bernie’ and they take your calls if you’d like to talk with Sen. Bernie Sanders over this issue or any other.
http://www.thomhartmann.com/listenlive.php
Contact him here too:
http://sanders.senate.gov/comments/
His website:
http://sanders.senate.gov
Thom Hartmann is a walking, talking Al Gore clone… this is one of the main centers of where the progressive liberal lies & climate propaganda comes from. You can contact Thom Gore here.
thom@thomhartmann.com

L Nettles
March 2, 2010 11:45 am

I took a look at the Guardian article. The author is still under the impression that climate skeptics deny that the world has warmed during the period of the instrumental record. In truth the vast majority of the skeptics believe that that world has warmed since the end of the Little Ice Age. For me those that deny the existence of the Little Ice Age are the one’s not worthy of respect.

Phil
March 2, 2010 11:46 am

Apart from the Holocaust denier connotation there is also the wild eyed religious connotation of labeling anyone who says things that contradict your belief as a ‘denier’.
In other words they might want to stop using the word for no other reason than to stop themselves looking unhinged.

Daniel H
March 2, 2010 11:49 am

Not so fast. While I applaud and support your efforts, Anthony, I’m skeptical that a paper which regularly churns out trashy, character smearing, tabloid news stories like this one (see link) can ever be trusted or taken seriously on the subject of climate change:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2009/mar/06/climate-change-deniers-top-10
Note to Guardian:
Either get George Monbiot to issue a public apology to all AGW skeptics everywhere or get rid of him. Period.
Then, and only then, will you be taken seriously as a legitimate news concern rather than the frothy sewage hole of putrid smelling yellow-green journalism that you currently are.

Stephen Brown
March 2, 2010 11:49 am

This one apparently simple step is, in fact, a most important move towards a more rational, logical debate about what is happening to the surface and atmosphere of our insignificant celestial spheroid. For far too long the debate about the pros and cons of this topic has more closely resembled trench warefare than intellectual intercourse.
The Guardian editorial staff, having had a prod from Anthony, have recognised that name-calling benefits no-one and, in fact reflects badly on the name-caller. We should welcome such small concessions as this as being a recognition of the validity of our opposition to the proponents of the CAGW theory. We cannot be summarily dismissed any longer; there is too much genuine proof emerging, albeit slowly, that the model-predicted catastrophies are not occurring and the degree of anthropomorphic interference , if any, with the ever-changing climate is still a complete unknown.
We should now reciprocate this concession and refrain from counter-productive name calling. Let rational debate, which does become heated from time to time, take its rightful place. Extremism of any type is destructive in nature. We all must now concentrate on what rigorous, correctly scientifically-based examination and open debate can bring forth. Applauding a properly produced result is welcomed; gloating over another’s discomfiture is to be discouraged.
Anthony, this one seemingly small change could prove to be a very important concession from a newspaper as avowedly ‘green’ as the Guardian; I have no doubt that many of their readers are going to view this matter as some form of betrayal: they betray only themselves.

March 2, 2010 11:49 am

Hey has anyone seen this article: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/03/02/archaic-weather-network-run-with-volunteers/#
It’s about this guy called Watts who seems to think the temperature data is suspect !

Leon Brozyna
March 2, 2010 11:50 am

Amen to that.
And, to something else you said:

I’ll also point out that it took our modern society about 150 years of science and technology advances to get where we are now. Doing it cleaner and better won’t be an overnight solution either.

You don’t stop building coal-fired power plants just because there might be a way of generating electricity that won’t have an impact on the environment through the acts of building dams or mining coal. You do keep on building the infrastructure you currently have till you reach what I call a critical mass of knowledge and capabilities, where new discoveries and innovations are possible. And economically realistic. The first person that discovers how to tap into the energy in which the universe is awash will become a billionaire many times over; but wishing for that to happen will not make it so, especially if we try to freeze everything we have now in place while we await that magical, mystical future discovery.

March 2, 2010 11:51 am

Great work, Anthony!
And well done to The Guardian for making an important step in the right direction.
Here’s to less name calling, and more discussion about the science.

JackStraw
March 2, 2010 11:52 am

>>My position has been that there is no debate that the earth has warmed over the past 100+ years, but that the magnitude of the measured warming and the cause(s) remain in debate.
Variations of this statement have been made by many of us so clearly and so often over the last few years that anyone who still does not understand this position is either not listening or deliberately misstating the facts. While I applaud the long overdue move by the Guardian (funny things happen when the “facts” change) to stop using the term denier some of the comments by the unnamed colleagues in the article lead me to believe this may be nothing more than an attempt to moderate the discussion not an acceptance that there are people of good faith who are genuinely skeptical.

Martin Brumby
March 2, 2010 11:53 am

Shucks. Does that mean I can’t call the paper the “Grauniad” and Monbiot “Great Moonbat” any more?
Just one last time?
OK, CTM, snip if you must.
But in the new touchy feely let-it-all-hang-out spirit of benevolence towards our erstwhile detractors and tormentors, who has read his latest?:-
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/mar/01/solar-panel-feed-in-tariff
[H/T the indispensible http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/%5D
I’ve never read anything by Monbiot so sensible!

John in L du B
March 2, 2010 11:53 am

I know of virtualy no one, warmist or sceptic, who doesn’t agree that the earth has warmed in the last 100 years
I know of virtualy no one, warmist or sceptic, who doesn’t agree that man plays some role in changing the climate, at least on a regional basis, through several mechanisms:
UHI
Land use changes
There are probably other.
Almost everyone, warmist and sceptic, agrees that CO2 should have some effect on the global temperature. The question is how large?
In fact, land use changes in some regions may be one of those important environmental issues that Anthony has characterized as “swallowed up” by the AGW debate.
So where does James Randerson get off saying:
“The ’sceptics’ label is almost too generous a badge as very few are genuinely sceptical about the science but I think we have to accept the name is now common parlance.”
I sense evidence at the Guardian of minds that have been closed for a long time, not willing to do any real investigative journalism. That’s a sad, scary and pathetic state of affairs. It suggests that we may reached the journalistic tipping point globally and it’s not tipping towards defense of democracy.
John

RickA
March 2, 2010 11:55 am

I agree. Thanks.

STEPHEN PARKER
March 2, 2010 11:57 am

dont trust them. the gaurdian is a minority paper here. No one reads it. dont waste your time anthony

P Gosselin
March 2, 2010 11:58 am

That is quite an accomplishment.
Reminds me of the Yosemite Sam clip where he was not allowed to get mad.
(You might want to keep the kids away from the premises around Guardian HQ)

Bruce Cobb
March 2, 2010 11:58 am

“If someone really does think that climate change is not happening – that the world is not warming – then it seems fair enough to call them a denier (and I’d love them to explain to me why comma butterflies are flying north to Scotland, for the first time in history, as fast as their jagged little wings will take them)”
So, Mr. Marsh still does, in fact think it’s OK to use the denier label in some cases. Because, in fact there has been no statistically-significant warming for the past 15 years, and some cooling since about 2001. But, in his book, anyone pointing that out would be a “denier”. I notice he also uses the “climate change is not happening” straw man, conflating it with the idea of non-warming, which is typical. He still doesn’t seem to get that nobody claims that the climate doesn’t change.

March 2, 2010 11:58 am

jeff id
I use the word ‘warmist,’ its supposed to be factual not derogatory. It would be interesting to have a short list of acceptable terms as we do need short hand sometimes. Is ‘team member’ still OK?
tonyb

Steve Goddard
March 2, 2010 12:02 pm

Kum,
You make a very good point about whether or not it has gotten warmer. From what I have learned studying the most reliable data from the US and the Arctic, I don’t see much indication that it is significantly warmer now than it was 70 years ago. Might even be cooler.

Editor
March 2, 2010 12:05 pm

Does this mean that we are going to have to say goodbye to Monbiot’s “Top 10 climate change deniers – Monbiot’s royal flush: Cut out and keep climate change denier cards”?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/climate-change-scepticism

Paul Daniel Ash
March 2, 2010 12:06 pm

Nicely said by all, and a tip of the hat to those who can’t quite let themselves sign on. You start where you stand.
Referring to people by labels is a sure way of cutting off any chance of discussion before it’s begun. On either side there are nuts, true believers, earnest scientists, agnostics and every shade in between. It’s most productive to attack a specific argument, rather than a whole class of people (most of whom you don’t know).
I’ve tried to avoid doing so here. I’ll try harder.

R Taylor
March 2, 2010 12:07 pm

A good start, but the Guardian editor’s “sceptical about the science” shows that he just doesn’t get it. No-one who applies reason to the interpretation of natural phenomena is “sceptical about the science.” Reason can lead to scepticism about the accuracy of observations and to disagreement about interpretations, especially if the CAGW interpretation refuses to recognize quantitatively the lag of carbon-dioxide behind temperature, etc.

Sean Peake
March 2, 2010 12:08 pm

“If someone really does think that climate change is not happening – that the world is not warming – then it seems fair enough to call them a denier (and I’d love them to explain to me why comma butterflies are flying north to Scotland, for the first time in history, as fast as their jagged little wings will take them)”
I may be misinformed (I’m NEVER wrong) but I thought these creatures used to reside in Scotland and disappeared (or moved off) over 110 years ago?

March 2, 2010 12:08 pm

“The ’sceptics’ label is almost too generous a badge as very few are genuinely sceptical about the science”

This is a pretty bold assumption to make by a more reluctant member of the staff. I’d say he/she just doesn’t want to take that word weapon out of their quiver just yet.
However, just the fact that they’d even seriously discuss this change in nomenclature is a huge step!

HotRod
March 2, 2010 12:09 pm

I was about to say is ‘warmist’ ok? I use it, affectionately, to apply generally to believers in AGW who think something should be done about it, a broad church of generally well-meaning people, from people who confuse recycling with action on climate change to, whisper it, Gavin.

shirley123
March 2, 2010 12:11 pm

VIDEO – Sticking it to all the Big Oil “sock puppets”! http://bit.ly/cS4OUt
2009 was the second hottest on record.

Patrik
March 2, 2010 12:11 pm

It’s a very good thing to try to stop calling people names. Even if we all do it from time to time… 😉
For what it’s worth, in Swedish, I usually call people from the other side of the fence “AGW-övertygade”, which would translate to “AGW-convinced”.
It’s the most neutral and precise description I’ve come to think of.
Which in turn would make us, not sceptics – since that probably could mean almost anyone. In fact i believe that quite a few AGW-convinced ones actually find it annoying that we should be the only sceptic ones, which in turn makes them “gullible” or worse… 🙂
So, i prefer to call myself “AGW-sceptic”. Can’t think of anything more descriptive and neutral. 🙂

Renaud Carême
March 2, 2010 12:14 pm

I have 2 problems with this article.
First I find it a little bit condescendant from the Guardian notably “The ’sceptics’ label is almost too generous a badge as very few are genuinely sceptical about the science but I think we have to accept the name is now common parlance”. So in fact they consider us (note that “us” is a variety of opinion and thinking) as sceptical not to say anti-science.
Then the second is the comment from Anthony about “My position has been that there is no debate that the earth has warmed over the past 100+ years”. Well actually for me there is a debate about that, just 2 recent news help make me sceptic (oups) about this statement and I would like that there is a debate about that. one news is the article from Hansen in the NYT in 1989 where he recognised that there was no warming in the USA between 1895 and late 1980s, the other one is from climate gate where it appeared that “there was no warming since 1998 and it is a travesty that we cant show this.
I will linked to that the work of the 2 MCs which showed that 1934 was the warmest year in the USA during the 20th century, the work from Anthony Watts about the validity of temperatures coming from the station in the USA, and the number of station across the world during the last century.
Yes I doubt that late 20th century is warmer than late 19th and than any other period in the last 150 years so I would like a debate about this.

James Evans
March 2, 2010 12:15 pm

“In related news, the nastiness of debate caused one long time blogger to close his discussion forum.”
To be fair, if Dawkins is going to dish it out, then he really needs to be able to take it. I’m not religious myself, but the guy has to expect some sort of backlash for some of the utterly insulting things that he’s implied about religious people.

Doug in Seattle
March 2, 2010 12:17 pm

How can anyone with senses deny that climate changes?
The motivation and meaning of this strange juxtaposition of two words has clearly been an attempt to associate those who oppose the carbon cult (thanks kwik!) as the equivalent of followers of a somewhat similar cult in the 1930’s.
Some, like Lubos at the Reference Frame, take pride in term being applied to them, as they feel they are compelled to deny the legitimacy of the fantasy of CO2 caused dangerous climate change.
I can sympathize with Lubos, but I agree with Anthony on this one though. Thanks for suggesting the idea to the Guardian. You probably weren’t the only (or first) one though.

ThousandsOfMilesAway
March 2, 2010 12:17 pm

An outbreak of humanity. Lovely stuff.

Oslo
March 2, 2010 12:18 pm

I seem to find the same pattern wherever I look in the climate debate: the AGW proponents are invariably the ones who use ad hominem, straw men, slanderous characterizations and doubts about motives as a debating tactic.
I see the same pattern in other reserch areas which have become politicized, for example in the social sciences, where those who have a political agenda do not want to discuss the science, but rather the political motives of the opponent. Obviously thinking that the opponent is just as politicized as him/herself.
But in climate science this is not the case at all. There may be groups critical of AGW for business- or political reasons, but the core of the skeptical movement is all about the credibility of science.
I think AGW proponents would be surprised to learn that most skeptics would in fact become alarmists over night, if only the science was credible and convincing.
Now this is the only thing that can bring proponents and skeptics together: a thorough and transparent reexamination of the scientific basis, without the secrecy, the scheming and the bias towards warming in every link in the chain.
But still they do not want to discuss the science. They have to be battled and fought from trench to trench, even when they are obviously and blatantly wrong. They will not let go of their “truths” even if science itself must be thwarted.
As long as the scientific process is in shambles, there will be conflict, because it leaves no room for a reasonable and believeable scientific discourse.
And this is why we are where we are today.

Stevie
March 2, 2010 12:18 pm

I’m wondering why no-one mentions the fact that according to the latest satellite data, this winter has been the warmest since recordings began. Or that last year has been the second warmest and last decade the warmest on record. It’s very difficult to not see a continuing increase in temperatures.

rbateman
March 2, 2010 12:19 pm

Anthony:
You’re quoted on Fox News again:
http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/03/02/archaic-weather-network-run-with-volunteers/
Most notably:
“What it boils down to, Watts says, is that some of the world’s top climate scientists have been crunching numbers that were altered by their immediate surroundings, rounded by volunteers, guessed at by the NCDC if there was insufficient data, then further adjusted to correct for “biases,” including the uneven times of day when measurements were taken — all ending up with a number that is 0.6 degrees warmer than the raw data, which Watts believes is itself suspect. ”
Good job.
And they got some nice B91 links for everyone to see.

KlausB
March 2, 2010 12:20 pm

Great Anthony, really great, indeed.
It’s not the end, but certainly, it’s the beginning of the end.
In fact, I see it as the one of the greatest moments
in this long and ugly uphill battle (enforced on us) since I
became a ‘denier’, oops sceptic, about seven years ago.
@Philhippos (11:07:28) :
“Being polite but absolutely firm with the opposition is without doubt the right policy to pursue henceforth. Keep to the moral high ground.”
WelI said, I do totally agree.

b_C
March 2, 2010 12:20 pm

To nail down the divergence of opinions, would “sober on the science” be a sufficiently civil contrast with “high on the science?”

March 2, 2010 12:21 pm

“Let’s all dial back and treat others with the same respect in conversation as you might treat dinner guests having a discussion at home.”
The guardian have run a particularly nasty vicious campaign against scientifically sceptical people, particularly on their comments page where people who did not tow their editorial policy were kicked off for nothing much at all. E.g. my “crime” was to suggest that prof Jones had broken the FOI law!
They might “say” they want to “engage with climate sceptics” but I won’t believe it until I get an email apologising for their behaviour.

Leon Brozyna
March 2, 2010 12:23 pm

Just a tad O/T but there’s a bit up at FOX about a near and dear topic – weather stations – with quotes from the much beloved Rev …
http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/03/02/archaic-weather-network-run-with-volunteers/
(BTW, after a couple weeks, it’s great to be back online, now that I’ve made the switch from my desktop tower & XP to a widescreen laptop & Win7)

TGBrown
March 2, 2010 12:23 pm

Even the term ‘skeptic’ (or sceptic, for our friends across the pond) becomes a pejorative term, because it implies that one is nothing but a critic–or worse, a cynic. There are many who simply want to carry out and publish good science.
I think ‘naturalist’ is a much better term for those who take the view that much more attention needs to be placed on natural variations before we can say with any confidence which, if any, of the effects are anthropogenic.

Larry
March 2, 2010 12:23 pm

I am not so sure the media are quite so innocent here. The telegraph had a report from Monckton years ago, and what struck me at the time was the basic historical evidence which did not appear un the mainstream press. Really that was what first convinced me there wasnt a case. Why scream about the arctic and not mention the antarctic? Why scream about greenland when it was known it was greener in viking times?

Richard M
March 2, 2010 12:26 pm

While I appreciate the gesture, I can’t help but think there is no way this would have happened 4 months ago. So, there is very little I see here other than typical CYA. They really haven’t taken off the blindfolds yet.
In any event, I think AGW is now old stuff. My new theory is AGD. In fact, I think it has more supporting evidence than AGW.
Global drying may be responsible for the current upward trend in temperatures. We all know that deforestation, swamp removal and other land use changes have a tendency to dry micro-climates. Throw in increased water table flow due to human usage and the global atmosphere has been drying.
The drying has led to increases in CO2 based on Miskolczi’s GHG theory. In fact, this theory better describes the near linear increase in CO2. While human emissions have increased exponentially, CO2 levels haven’t. Either there is an exponential CO2 sequestration mechanism or some other factor is relevant. Global drying represents that mechanism.
Now, where do I get my billion dollars to study this further? And, I don’t want to hear any nonsense from you AGD deniers … er, skeptics.
Only half kidding …

Herman L
March 2, 2010 12:28 pm

All scientists are skeptical, but only a few deny the validity of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report. Hence the terms which many will continue to use.

Tom G(ologist)
March 2, 2010 12:28 pm

I spoke about this with Joanne Nova a while ago, and my position remains the same – even the term ‘sceptic’ is not acceptable (Denier is just plain slander). So, too, is the epithet “Climate Sceptic”.
We do not deny climate change, we are not sceptical that CO2 DOES indeed have a role in long-wave energy absorption. We are not sceptical that human activities DO indeed have some effect on climate. We do not doubt that we might have an accelerated impact as time goes on.
What we are sceptical about are the methods and conclusions of the erstwhile “main stream” climate scientists. Those who are now in the stall stage of the stall-spin-crash-burn-die sequence (they’ve been doing plenty of ‘spin’ but it’s not the same variety).
Look – in EVERY other branch of science, in all of which debate is tolerated, reporters say things like “ABC (scientist) says ‘this that…’ However, OTHER SCIENTISTS disagree, citing ‘the other thing’.”
That’s wht I want to be called. OTHER SCIENTISTS. That’s what we ARE. We are NOT deniers, sceptics, doubters, meddlers, interferers, snake oil peddlers. We are scientists. We are the OTHER scientists who always get quoted whenever a science story is reported and the reporter wants to offer both sides.
To call us sceptics puts us on a different, and lower, level than ‘scientists’. Anthony, YOU are a climate scientist. Why accept being introduced to the public as something other than what you are and what you are qualified to be recognized as – an equal player in the field.
I am a geologist, a university educator, a practicing professional, and a Senate-appointed representative of Pennsylvania on the national licensing board for PGs. I am equally as qualified as M. Mann to weigh in on the paleoclimatological record. I don’t want to be perceived by the public as The Sceptic. I want to be the Other Geologist. To be labeled ANYTHING other than scientists demeans our position in the public mind.
Ask the people in the Brights movement why they are willing to accept such a silly name for themselves. It’s because the word “Atheist” only has meaning in the context of theists. ‘Atheist’ means there is some deity(ies) which one doesn’t accept. It is the same – something must be true if one denies it. That same something must be true if one is simply sceptical of it. Something is not necessarily true if real PEERS (sensu stricto) are still researching the validity of either interpretation.

Spector
March 2, 2010 12:28 pm

I believe use of a disrespectful term like ‘denialist’ is, perhaps, indicative of a fear that one’s own position may be unsupportable. On the other hand, I think that terms like ‘antagonist’ or ‘advocate’ would show respect for one’s opponent on a given issue without indicating a perceived weakness in one’s own case.

March 2, 2010 12:32 pm

Is it something inherently Anglo-Saxon that I, being a Russian country bumpkin, am not capable of understanding?
Respecting your robber and asking him to be polite to you is a small step to… what, exactly?
Reminds me of the shrinks’ advice to women being raped: try to relax and enjoy the process?

Rick
March 2, 2010 12:34 pm

Interesting that this is all come about after the collapse of the attempt to force a re-write the world’s economies with massive taxes.
Can there be a rational discussion when half of the world wants to beat the other half to a pulp with a giant carbon-trading stick? When the politicians (and some scientists) are using “science” in such an abusive way? When movement was spearheaded with lies(“inconvienent truth”) and the main visible leaders of the movement live such hypocrisy (Al Gore)?
I agree on the general discussion of science. Its everything else that has caused the problems.
Rick

Richard Wright
March 2, 2010 12:36 pm

My position has been that there is no debate that the earth has warmed over the past 100+ years…

I often hear this kind of statement and wonder on which scientific facts it is based. Given the problems with temperature measurement identified by the Surface Stations project, I believe it is correct to say that the supposed warming of the past 100 years is within the margin of error of the measurements
I think warming over the last 100 years is very debatable. And this is to say nothing of the problem of defining how to measure the temperature of the earth. Average together a few thousands sites? Satellite measurements of certain portions of the atmosphere? How about the earth’s core and the ocean depths? We can measure temperatures in any number of ways and average them together and plot trends but have little way of knowing if this is very representative at all of the “earth’s temperature”.

kcom
March 2, 2010 12:36 pm

I think it’s a step in the right direction but it’s a half-step.
We might help to promote a more constructive debate, however, by being “as explicit as possible about what we are talking about when we use the term sceptic”.
If they want to be as explicit as possible then they have to acknowledge that the term “climate skeptic” (or “climate sceptic”) is itself vague and misleading and actually meaningless. No one here is skeptical that there’s a climate or that climate changes. They don’t own the concept of a climate and that’s not what we’re skeptical about. What we are skeptical about, and what they do own, is the hypothesis of AGW, and more specifically catastrophic AGW as presented to this point. If the Guardian wants to be truly accurate, they should use the term AGW skeptic, where the term is focused clearly on the subject that is the basis of the skepticism: AGW as propounded by Michael Mann, Phil Jones and others. That would be the most intellectually honest way to handle it.

Tenuc
March 2, 2010 12:37 pm

I know in the past non-believers in CAGW, myself included, have had to suffer ridicule and mockery from the believers of this cargo-cult scientific religion, but now the tide of rational science is turning in our favour we need to be careful be polite but firm in getting the point across.
Thanks, Anthony, for instigating a move in the right direction. A small step for a man, but a big step for mankind, I think.
“An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” – Mahatma Gandhi

brent
March 2, 2010 12:39 pm

Although the denier label is offensive and deliberately so.
(This labelling is a brownshirt tactic to demonize one opponent.) , Lindzen mentioned in one talk that being called a “skeptic” implies that there actually is a valid case for alarm in the first place, which Lindzen and many others would contest. On this basis Lindzen shrugged off being called a denier. What he really should be called is “honest”
Instead of denier or skeptic, we should be called “honest” by the warmers if they themselves were willing to be truthful.
It’s an explicit propaganda strategy to loudly attack the other side accusing them of that which one oneself is most guilty of.
As a Prime example Noami Oreske tries to smear the “Honest” side as tobacconists, while she herself is guilty as hell of exactly what she accuses others of. She tries to claim the science was known and settled long ago.
Here’s an earlier video or hers that had the warmers having multiple orgasms

She spends a lot of drivel trying to argue ad hom on the basis of tobacconists, however she is doing exactly what she is accusing others of doing..and that is trying “control public perception” of uncertainty. In her case minimize the uncertainty wrt to AGW being “alarming”
It is an explicit (and effective) propaganda strategy to go on the offensive and loudly accuse others of that of which she herself is most guilty.
She went so over the top later in her smear job on Bill Nierenberg that even wikipedia Climate gatekeeper Connelly was taking her to task
Lies Posing as History
http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/prometheus/lies-posing-as-history-4709
Nierneberg, concluded: Oreskes is wrong
http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2008/11/nierneberg_concluded_oreskes_i.php
Similarly there is “denial” going on and it is the warmers who are guilty of this. They divert attention from themselves by loudly accusing others.
cheers
brent

DirkH
March 2, 2010 12:39 pm

“shirley123 (12:11:47) :
VIDEO – Sticking it to all the Big Oil “sock puppets”! http://bit.ly/cS4OUt
2009 was the second hottest on record.”
Hi shirley1234. I didn’t watch your video, i’m on a bad connection, could you tell me what it’s about? And i get the impression that you are one of those who think that CO2 is a major climate driver, am i right?

Renaud Carême
March 2, 2010 12:41 pm

Tom G(ologist): thank you very much, I fully agree with you, that was with better clarity what I was thinking behind my first point.

DirkH
March 2, 2010 12:41 pm

Oh, i also do think one shouldn’t let the Guardian off the hook. They deserve to be ruined for good for all the hatred MoonBat spouted.

ShrNfr
March 2, 2010 12:41 pm

Don’t you believe in flying saucers, they ask me? Don’t you believe in telepathy? — in ancient astronauts? — in the Bermuda triangle? — in life after death?
No, I reply. No, no, no, no, and again no.
One person recently, goaded into desperation by the litany of unrelieved negation, burst out “Don’t you believe in anything?”
“Yes”, I said. “I believe in evidence. I believe in observation, measurement, and reasoning, confirmed by independent observers. I’ll believe anything, no matter how wild and ridiculous, if there is evidence for it. The wilder and more ridiculous something is, however, the firmer and more solid the evidence will have to be.”
— Isaac Asimov
———–
I find myself in his camp. I will believe anything if there is sound reasoning, observation, and confirmation by independent observers. Until then, I deny global warming, dragons that have hordes of gold, little green men, and all the rest.

woodNfish
March 2, 2010 12:42 pm

What? Somebody reads The Guardian? Why?

Richard Tol
March 2, 2010 12:43 pm

Progress at last.

Mia Nony
March 2, 2010 12:44 pm

And here I thought the “D” word was “debate”!

ShrNfr
March 2, 2010 12:45 pm

I should clarify the global warming. I deny that man has anything but a very secondary driver in periods of warming. I believe in global warming when the AMO is on the upswing and there is the PDO, and other well known and documented primary forcers.

Dr T G Watkins
March 2, 2010 12:45 pm

Agree,well done again. The politicians need an exit strategy which allows them to save (somehow) face.
No doubt the environment section of the Guardian, plus science editors at all the MSM will read Lindzen and others about the strong arguments against AGW hypothesis. Warren Meyer’s excellent essay is a good place to start for those with limited science!
Lots of fun,however, owning up to being a denier, especially with strong ‘believers’, and then defining exactly what it is that you are denying ie in simple terms, poorly programmed computer models. A bit hairy after the Wales v France rugby on Friday, beer and discussion of firmly held views do not mix too well – fun though.

UK John
March 2, 2010 12:45 pm

I enjoyed being a “flat earther” and a “denier”, its a pity they are changing their stance.
Most of the people who carelessly use the word Denier, including those journalists at the Guardian, are hoping that some of the Nazi guilt for unimaginable, dehumanising, regimented killing of countless millions, will rub off on poor souls like myself. What are they thinking of!
They need not fear I carry this guilt with me every day, as we all should. The World stood by and did almost nothing to prevent it. We still do it now, look around, over half the human race is governed by murdering gangsters. I have visited many countries, who are members of the UN, where if you speak up against the mind numbing poverty, injustice, religious intolerance that people have to endure you are got rid off permamently. I have seen parents carry their dead children up the streets in sacks, I have felt helpless, angry, ashamed.
But I have never seen anyone die of Climate Change, and I suspect I never will.
That is the lesson of history, that is the threat to our human civilisation.
So if I deny Climate Change what of it!

John Galt
March 2, 2010 12:49 pm

First of all, the word “climate change” is meaningless as the climate is supposed to change. I don’t know anybody who denies the climate changes. For all practical purposes, the climate has always changed and will always change.
Skeptics know the climate is supposed to change. The other side seems to think otherwise. When people use the word denier, they are trying to control and limit dissenting thought.

timheyes
March 2, 2010 12:49 pm

Well done the Guadian and well said Anthony.
I do try to be nice to them but I’m not taking my tin-foil hat off! No way.
Now where did I put that cheque from Exxon?

Jack Morrison
March 2, 2010 12:50 pm

“The ’sceptics’ label is almost too generous a badge as very few are genuinely sceptical about the science”
I think that one sentence pretty much overrides The Guardian’s supposedly generous offer, and makes it perfectly clear that they still think we’re all a bunch of deniers.
Can anyone name one sceptic scientist who isn’t genuinely a sceptic?
Aren’t all scientists supposed to be sceptics?
I still don’t get it.
Jack

March 2, 2010 12:50 pm

“Non-resistance to evil is resistance to good.” – Alexander Feht

Spector
March 2, 2010 12:51 pm

RE: Skeptics: You might check out the meaning of the word “zetetic.” Of course, practically no one will know what you mean if you ever use it…

Channon
March 2, 2010 12:52 pm

“They describe themselves as sceptics, but this is plainly wrong, as they will believe any old rubbish that suits their cause.”
Do I detect a paradigm shift? A feeling of discomfort? A wondering if all those carefully worded statements by various Royal Societies might just indicate that those dead cert bets need hedging?

Paul Coppin
March 2, 2010 12:52 pm

I’m sorry, but after reading David Marsh’s piece above, any of you who think anything has been gained by dropping “denier” or any of the other terms, is going to make any difference in the debate is dreaming in Technicolor.
Marsh’s piece fairly drips with condescending phraseology, and all that will change, is the increased use of the driveby verbiage the British are notoriously famous for.
Witness this little bit of prose from the opening paragraphs: …Yes, the recent cold snap in the UK apparently demonstrates that the notion that climate change is happening at all, let alone as the result of human activity, is one big confidence trick.
With due respect to the Express’s scientific rigour,”…

While the term denier and denialist may fade, the sneer will not. This fight is far from over. “Deniers” will simply be replaced with “Climate Sceptics”, but the allusions will continue as before. Until you can convince them to abandon camps and treat the discussion on the merits or lack of the facts, you’ve won nothing. This is nothing more than case of changing from beating you with a flail, to using a mace.

Wilson Flood
March 2, 2010 12:54 pm

None who are genuine in debating the climate issue deny the science, if by that we mean the nature of GHGs. We are sceptical about the data, about how it has been collected, represented and been misinterpreted for personal status or gain. We are sceptical (or unconvinced) about the ability of extra GHGs to warm catastrophically. We are sceptical about the motives of politicians whom we suspect do not understand the complexity of the issue. Perhaps we could have a sensible debate about energy security without reference to climate change.

Larry
March 2, 2010 12:56 pm

There is something I still cannot understand from the mainstream media and opposition parties. This was supposed to be the biggest and most expensive crisis to hit mankind, requiring a mammoth effort. And yet, I saw nobody in the mainstream media or opposition parties demanding cost effectiveness. Surely the first thing on your list when coming up with the biggest budget the world has ever known, at tax payer expense, cost effectiveness would have been high up there? You may accept the science if you don’t feel able to question it, but how many reports did you see in the media about the tax payer not getting value for money? Stifling dissent is one thing, giving governments a blank cheque is quite another, and the msm holding the government to account is a cornerstone of a democratic society.

Shytot
March 2, 2010 1:00 pm

I agree with and applaud the sentiment/effort although their apparent denial of our right to be sceptical maybe shows a possible half heartedness in accepting the proposals, dare I say theire sentiments are not robust ……
I trust that it isn’t impolite to suggest that we have to feel sorry for them for being duped for so long and they probably need time to adjust to the new ideas and possible fallout from the changes happening all around them.
Until such times as the science is truly settled, I will remain sceptical about the measured and manipulated data and I will continue to deny the assumption that the future can be accurately predicted !

Kate
March 2, 2010 1:00 pm

I couldn’t care less what the Guardian calls real scientists and knowledge seekers on this issue or any other. I know that calling people names because of what they believe has never changed anyone’s mind. These days, I can hardly be bothered reading anything in the Guardian because of the poor standard of journalism. And when it comes to any article on global warming, the poor Guardian moderators may require regular hospital surgery to attach some sort of prosthetic device, their fingers having been worn down to bloody stumps by constantly hitting the “delete” key.

Phil
March 2, 2010 1:01 pm

Kudos.
There are deniers out there, but far fewer than those who lazily use the term think. By akk means, use it if it is truly warranted, but I think papers will find it rare that they can use it accurately.

Channon
March 2, 2010 1:01 pm

Sceptic, Skeptic, Septic, Denier, Denialist.
They can call me what they like but it wins them nothing.
Maybe it shames them a little and makes it harder to respect them since it is a form of ad hominem.
The only thing that wins the debate in the end is sound science.
All the rest is just so much hot air.

The Iceman Cometh
March 2, 2010 1:01 pm

“My position has been that there is no debate that the earth has warmed over the past 100+ years, but that the magnitude of the measured warming and the cause(s) remain in debate.” I think it essential to throw in the effects, too. Because it has been warming, we have seen non-growth in the violence of storms, gentle rise in the sea level, no drastic spread in malaria etc etc (read AR4 WG2 to continue the list). None of the dire threats have come to pass. Something must be wrong. Could it be the models, perchance?

Carbon Dioxide
March 2, 2010 1:01 pm

“UPDATE:
In related news, the nastiness of debate caused one long time blogger to close his discussion forum.”
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/science/article7043753.ece
The blogger this refers to is Prof. Richard Dawkins.
Now, this may not endear me to American conservatives, but I have been a fan of Dawkins and his crusade for secularism and evolution in the teeth of opposition from the religious right.
His book- The God Delusion, is excellent and pulls no punches nor it pander to those who feel the need to stick up for God’s hurt feelings.
Howevee, on BBC Radio 4 over Christmas there was a short series of talks by eminent scientists on evolution. (These talks were in the form of “letters” to Charles Darwin on the 200th aniversary of his birth- how his writings have influenced them and how the world has changed, further research etc, since Darwin’s day.
At the end of his letter, Dawkins compares Evolution as settled science to AGW and how this has become “settled”.
He gives no real evidence of this, but disturbingly for a militant atheist, states the “you have to believe in it”.
This is man whose book (God Delusion) systematically dismantles Man’s habit of inventing supernatural beings to explain natural phenomena and anything else that defys explanation at the time and tells us not to believe in nonsense explainations, based on belief in invisible, unverifiable but convieniently invented gods, goblins or assorted demons.
But Dawkins says (in “Letters to Darwin”) “you have believe in it ” (AGW) without any real evidence. However, on his website, Dawkins states that he has “no strong feelings either way” towards AGW.
Reading between the lines, I consider that that Prof. Dawkins is trying to tell us something which would be career suicide for him to articulate further.

Ian W
March 2, 2010 1:01 pm

Lets hope that the mad invective from the RealClimate people that has been aimed at David Adams and Fred Pearce will stiffen the resolve of the Guardian environmental journalists. See for example RealClimate or the comments to
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/mar/01/phil-jones-climate-science-emails-select-committee-hearing
These sort of attacks can only help anyone sceptical of the AGW climate science. These journalists took the AGW people at face value and now see the levels of abuse that result from even mildly critical coverage of their heroes.

R. de Haan
March 2, 2010 1:02 pm

I love this!
Thanks Anthony, great job, you’re a true gentleman.
I also would like to thank the journalists of the Guardian for taking the time to discuss this subject and for their insights.
It’s much appreciated.

March 2, 2010 1:04 pm

“There are also other pressing environmental issues which have been swallowed whole by the maelstrom of this worldwide climate debate and are getting the short shrift. The sooner we can settle it, the sooner we can get on to solving those.” AW
Exactly the point I’ve always tried to make when discussing the issue of AGW. Since AGW is very firmly identified as an environmentalist issue, if it should be found (or should I say, as has been found) to be a lie then all environmental issues will likewise to tainted. Being, at the very least, skeptical of AGW alarmism is actually a pro-environmentalist stance.

Mia Nony
March 2, 2010 1:05 pm

http://www.philosophical-investigations.org/Wikipedia_on_Climate_Change
“Despite this, it’s not just The Guardian (a paper I used to occasionally write articles on Computers and Education for) uncritically regurgitating Wikipedia. All over the word, journalists are writing stories about global warming using the same strategy.
A Day in the Life of an Environment Editor
10.00 Arrive at desk, switch computer on and have coffee
11.00 am Editorial meeting. Boss says write something (groans all round) about Global Warming.
12.00 Lunch
2.30 pm Look at Wikipedia
3.00 pm Ring or email someone mentioned there for comments
4.00 Tea and organic chocky biscuits
5.00 File 1000 words using WP and my vegetable patch as sources.
That’s why Wikipedia’s influence is greater than you might think, if you imagine it is just net-nerds who read Wikipedia you may be deluding yourself. Quite possibly you get a compulsory dose of it every morning in regurgitated form in your newspaper and watch it every evening on TV.
Only a few media organisations have the ‘resources’ to do any ‘research’ into these matters – one’s like the New York Times, which is a fervent backer of the cause, could it be in the interests of both the Democratic party and the Carbon Traders of Wall Street? – and the BBC. But the BBC held a meeting at which several climate experts were invited to see if there were any doubts or controversies about the climate change science, and these experts said certainly not! So the BBC has no worries. However, just to be on the safe side, it has officially designated the names of the experts it consulted a ‘secret’. Like the temperature readings used by the University of East Anglia to arrive at the conclusion that the world is overheating, these sources can never be revealed.
Now the ‘science of global warming’, which is to say, the notion that man-made CO2 has caused, and is set increasingly to do so, the planet to warm slightly, is certainly not all the ‘sceptical way’ either. But let’s not get hung up on that. For any number of reasons, the world ‘could be’ warming up, just as the theory insists. If it is, we need a rational discussion of both the effects, the implications and possible mitigation strategies.
None of these can start without a full and open exchange of views and evidence. Wikipedia has systematically distorted both – and it continues to do so.
Here there are no controversies about inaccurate temperature records, manipulated temperature graphs, melting glaciers, african famines, dehydrating rain-forests, or ‘complete lists of greenhouse gases’ that miss out the one that causes 90 % of the greenhouse effect – water vapour*.
Yet even giving the lobby its man-made global warming:
• if temperature records are inaccurate, then remedial activities will be directed to the wrong regions
• if glaciers are not really melting then emergency action to provide replacement fresh water supplies to a billion people in Asia is, to say the least, not necessary
• if the rain-forests are not really dehydrating then it is still worth preserving the rain-forests, rather than converting them to ‘biofuels’, as is the current policy
• if water vapour accounts for virtually all the greenhouse effect, then the economic value and utility of capturing other gases is functionally nil…
One could go on – but why bother? There is no debate, only propaganda. Whether Wikipedia is as we are asked to believe, just a rudderless ship being tossed here and there on the tides of prevailing opinion, I personally doubt. The bias is careful, subtle and very, very thorough. It involves wholesale abuse of the supposed principles of the site – the right of ‘everyone’ to edit pages and the expulsion of those who make changes that are ‘off message’ (like my new page on sceptical views).
Let’s leave the last word to Jimmy Wales, nominally at least, the benign dictator controlling the world’s most consulted encyclopaedia. I asked him (by email) if anything about the coverage of Climate Change there had worried him, given that it was not neutral at all, and was generated in ways contrary to his claimed principle that ‘all editors are equal’. In a characteristically unreflective reply, he wrote:
“There exists a long line of people who, when their extremist agenda is not accepted into Wikipedia, accuse the community of bias.”
Jimmy Wales, 15 Febuary 2010
Jimmy may or may not be worried about the goings on at Wikipedia. But the rest of us should be.
Notes
About those frightening images… The ‘source’ is the Goddard Institute, and Gavin Schmidt, editor of realclimate.org (set up by the PR company that Al Gore’s environmental advisor was a staffer for), and former home of Wikipedia editing supremo, William Connoley. Does Wikipedia note that Gavin Schmidt and Michael Mann – of the now discredited ‘hockey stick’ graph are both colleagues and chums? Or that the Goddard is run by James Hansen, one of Global Warming Theories’ founding fathers, so to speak, who has such an ‘extreme’ position the matter that he has fallen out with most of the others in the pro-camp. Quoting them is like quoting Liverpool Supporters Club on ‘who are the greatest’ football team. Or maybe like using George Monbiot’s vegetable patch as a marker for global climate change. Look at the small print too- Gavin and co admit that their ‘record temperatures’ result from spikes in measurements in the Arctic and ‘parts’ of the Antarctic – data sources that are considered so poor that the Met Office and other climate centrers do not incorporate at all into their models. But the Goddard not only uses these dubious statistics, as they say themselves, they then mathematically extrapolate them ‘over the entire land mass’ – obtaining many more record high temperatures!)]]
1. Quotes from Wikipedia pages are from versions downloaded on 16 February 2010. The numbers in square brackets are left in to indicate the WIkipedia footnote gobbledegook.
2. Lawrence Solomon,evidently confused by WIkipedia’s jargon, makes some large over-estimates of the influence of Connolley. I’m grateful to the Wikipedia Review for additional details on William Connolley’s activities.
2. For those who are interested, the temperature records for the Siberia and China have been shown to have been deliberately falsified, while a much-quoted temperature-survey supposedly demonstrating only as small ‘urban heat’ effect contained key assertions that were impossible -that is, were flat lies. The key temperature graph of the IPCC report the so-called Hockey Stick graph, was inserted 3 times prominently by its inventor in one IPCC report, but then having been extensively discredited – notably for having ‘ironed out’ all evidence of past changes in temperature, not included at all in the next.The IPCC claim that all the ice in the Himalayas would have melted by 2035 was discredited when it was pointed out that it came from just one scientist, linked to the IPCC’s chief, who had no evidence to back it up, and instead a personal interest in the advancing of the claim. The IPCC predictions of massive crop failure in Sub-Saharan Africa and the disappearance of the rainforests due to lack of rain followed the same pattern – one ‘partisan’ source, not peer-reviewed. Indeed, when spotted, they were flatly rejected by relevant specialists. But that debate has been suppressed – up to now!
1http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming
2see http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/william-m-connolley/
3http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fpcomment/archive/2008/05/03/who-is-william-connolley-solomon.aspx

kwik
March 2, 2010 1:06 pm

stephen richards (11:26:02) :
“I am not inclined to forgive and forget the past activities of the Grauniad. They knew all along what they were doing. Their derisive remarks against well qualified scientists, many times more knowledgeable than them, were always unacceptable and against all principles of good, impartial journalism.”
HEAR! HEAR!

Peter Plail
March 2, 2010 1:11 pm

Maybe the Guardian is reviewing its use of extreme language now that it has been on the receiving end of the stream of bile emanating from RC over recent Guardian articles by Fred Pearce.

March 2, 2010 1:13 pm

This debate about terms is a little bit silly. If one talks about GW, we’re all talking about AGW. The deniers are those that deny the Earth being warmer in the past. As they seem to deny (do they?) that it was also colder…
And if you talk about Climate Change, I can tell you that I’m a believer. I believe climate is changing today, it has changed in the past, and will certainly change in the future!!!
Who are the deniers after all???
Ecotretas

Mike
March 2, 2010 1:17 pm

So, do you all agree to stop calling AGW a “hoax”? I do not know if that term has been used on this blog, but it certainly gets used a lot.
I would tend to call Inhofe a denier and Lindzen a skeptic.
In terms of debate, one needs to distinguish between scientific debate and public debate. There is no scientific debate on the veracity of natural selection driving evolution, but there is certainly a public debate. There is very little debate amoung professional climatogists the AGW is real and series. Even Lindzen says humans are responcible for about 1/3 of the obversed GW.

Richard Wright
March 2, 2010 1:19 pm

It seems more than a tad ironic that Dawkins, who proclaims that 98% of the world is delusional, would complain about the nastiness of debate.

dearieme
March 2, 2010 1:20 pm

“My position has been that there is no debate that the earth has warmed over the past 100+ years”: my position is that it’s perfectly plausible that it has warmed, but until the effect is quantified competently and honestly, it seems premature to say that it’s certain. But it seems likely, I’ll grant you.

March 2, 2010 1:21 pm

I suspect it is dawning on the folks at the Guardian that the AGW position is looking rather less secure than it did, say, in October. From which it follows that calling people who a) have helped this happen, b) have been questioning that position all along, “deniers” and worse made the Guardian look quaint and outmoded. Now that is all very well over on the Fabian economics and policy side of the paper, but the hipsters on the environment beat couldn’t bear the ridicule.
Slowly the actual science – with its complexity and uncertainty – is supplanting the all to neat, exact to the fourth decimal place, confections generated by computer models. The need for transparency and an audit trail have become mainstream. Bloggers like our host and Steve McIntyre have more credibility than the climategate emailers.
The Guardian is simply trying to keep up as the world changes.

March 2, 2010 1:22 pm

Anthony
I wish you well in your initiative to stop the name-calling and get both sides to concentrate on the issues. Too bad the AGW lead salesman and slide-show jockey doesn’t keep up with the spirit of the thing: http://www.herkinderkin.com/2010/03/al-gore-goes-on-the-attack/
I object to his assertions that AGW-skeptics constitute a a criminal generation. I object to being tainted by association with unnamed AGW-skeptics funded by big oil. I object very strongly to having the skeptical position likened to the desperate attempts by tobacco companies to descredit those who established the dangers of smoking. Especially from the son of a tobacco farmer! Al Gore knows what every politician knows – that one can spout the most crude obscenities with impunity as long as one avoids using “obscenities”.
PS – my cheap shot referring to Al Gore’s father only goes to show that I can be just as guilty. I rest my case. It will be a long haul bringing sense to the rhetoric. Thanks for having the guts to try it. I for one will do my best to practise moderation.

Not Amused
March 2, 2010 1:25 pm

I guess nailing it down to the actual true label of “AGW skeptics” (being that nobody is skeptical of climate per se) would be too much to ask of The Guardian et al at this point ?
Perhaps one day in the future we could be labelled appropriately as such (political correctness and all). Much like how history has played out with other minority “unfavorable” groups…
*sigh*

Jose A Veragio
March 2, 2010 1:26 pm

Good work Anthony.
That offensive piece Monbiot’s royal flush: Cut out and keep climate change denier cards that has typified the Guardians coverage, still taking pride of place on just about every Guardian page remotely connected to Climate Change, makes a mockery any supposed change of heart ‘though.

latitude
March 2, 2010 1:29 pm

“In terms of debate, one needs to distinguish between scientific debate and public debate.”
Mike, I think the real debate is “just how much of this is climatologists blowing smoke”
Honestly, do you really believe that the scientific community is that smart?
Look at all the things we can not do, control, predict, cure, or even have a clue what makes it tic.
and a bunch of climatologists want to profess that they not only have it all figured out, but know how to fix it.
It all flies in the face of common sense, and that is the real debate.

March 2, 2010 1:32 pm

Great idea: start negotiating with frauds and liars who’ve been crapping over science for twenty years. Not.

Stephan
March 2, 2010 1:33 pm

One person who should be ashamed of himself Mr Tim Flannery Australian of the Year There will be more frequent and intense droughts in Australia
http://www.news.com.au/national/record-rain-breaks-drought-in-boost-for-farmers/story-e6frfkvr-1225836346302

Nick Yates
March 2, 2010 1:37 pm

Well done Anthony, although I think an apology from The Guardian would have been more appropriate.
On the other hand there are some who are literally in denial about the evidence.
I think it’s going to be increasingly obvious who has really been in denial about the eveidence..

March 2, 2010 1:41 pm

Mike,
While evolution certainly goes on, it has so many drivers, and they interact in such a complex way that the evolutionary science is in the state of a constant flux and development.
As to the AGW theory — apart from the fact that some 35,000 professional scientists signed a letter stating that it is a hoax — never forget that “very little debate” may have different explanations: it could be “consensus” (which means exactly nothing in the scientific world); it could be also “suppression,” “persecution,” and “censorship.”
There was “very little debate” among the Soviet scientists about the “bourgeois” nature of such “pseudo-sciences” as genetics and cybernetics. And yes, this silence of the lambs was also portrayed in the Soviet media as “scientific consensus.”

JDubya
March 2, 2010 1:41 pm

As someone with a degree in Physics, and had studied this subject in 1991-1993 before leaving graduate school to pursue a real career, I find it hilarious when I am called a “skeptic” or a “denier” by people who have no scientific education whatsoever. These people are drones. Even the ones in the press and media disgust me greatly. It is as if they are the sole decision maker here. What do you get? You get hilarious moments in journalistic history when a plastic top like Rick Sanchez attempts to seek the English translation for “9 meters”. What a load.
What is even more amazing to me is that people who call me a “denier” call themselves a “believer”. This is the main problem. In physics, I was not taught to “believe” that Force is the product of a body’s mass and the acceleration. It is not something that can be “denied”. I was not “skeptical” about the Laws of Thermodynamics. However, these very real and very permanent, unchangeable laws seem to be broken by the “believers” to attain their “results”.
When I was in undergraduate physics, I took a 400 level modern physics course. It was extremely difficult, but it was the best course I took. The professor would make us apply changes to the Force Laws, such as instead of inverse square, the relation was exponential, etc. This shaped our understanding of the laws and why there are relations, like the inverse square law.
The problem is we have a new religion stemming from those who want to “believe” that Man is the center of the problem here. This may be the result of the generational shift and self-centered desires of the “Me” generation. Those who reject the traditional cultures and practices, pursue towards redefining everything and everyone by their own circular lexicons, and hyphenate everything under the sun to effectively categorize and box us up in our personal zones. And now these people, the “believers”, see themselves as the saviors of the planet. All of us masses are heretics.
Let’s go this route; let’s say that all of us who have a science degree, regardless of how many peer reviewed journals we publish endless modeled graphs and hyperbole, that we are the “science educated class”. Those who want to “believe” cannot classify themselves as “science educated class”, because science is not about truth and false. It is about right and wrong. When your theory is wrong, it is wrong. A lot of bridges have fallen from wrong theories.
The rest of the people, who may not have gone done the path of science education have every right to participate. Those who want to understand the whole issue, both sides of the equation, per se, should be called “vested participants” as it is everyone’s right to understand our world and to participate in making it better. Those who want to remain one-sided in terms of “belief” will still be called “believers”.
The end result is this: many theories, some completely ridiculous and downright stupid, have been showing significant flaws to the point of bursting. This is due to the fact that these theories were wrong, not that enough people did “believe” these ideas. Bad ideas occur all the time. These usually lead to better ideas. Bad ideas are not false, they are just wrong.
So when I hear that the “press” is discussing how to classify us, I laugh. I have a classification for them that has been tossed around quite a bit. I call them “dinosaurs”.
Oh, and still a great site here, Mr. Watts. Keep growing.

J.Peden
March 2, 2010 1:41 pm

Mike (13:17:17) :
So, do you all agree to stop calling AGW a “hoax”?
Well, we can’t call it “science” because many of its main proponent Climate Scientists refuse to follow the Scientific Method. So what term do you propose instead?

jlc
March 2, 2010 1:45 pm

I’m not a scientist. I’m an engineer. I design and build dams and hydroelectric projects. To do this, I need a good understanding of both climate and weather and I’ve been doing this for 45 years. I’ve worked in Mongolia where temperatures drop to -50°C and Australia where they go to plus 50°.
I, personally, am not aware of any warming over the past 45 years, but am prepared to acceot that some has occurred.
I consider myself to be a climate-change skeptic.
1. There is a fair amount of evidence to suggest that there has been some warming since 1970.
2. Obviously, most of this evidence comes from areas where most of the nearly 7 billion people on the planet reside
3. For the most part, temperature date from the places where people don’t live in great numbers (95% of the area of our “fragile” planet) is generally anecdotal and not scientific
4. There is no way of establishing if temperatures since 1970 have been warmer than the MWP or the Roman max
5. If 1. is correct, there is no way of establishing magnitude of change to a precision of better than ± 1° (since 1970).
6. If 1. is correct, there are many possible explanations: natural cycles, land use changes, CO2.
7. If sea levels are rising by 3 mm/year, we would have seen a 2 m rise in sea level in Port Philip Bay (at Melbourne, where I was born and last visited in Jan 2010). When I look at the rocks at Picnic Point in Sandringham, I have difficulty seeing more than 25 cm rise at most.
As a serious, competent and honest engineer, I find it troubling to find that there are “scientists” who are not skeptics.
Thanks, Anthony. WUWT has really been a breath of fresh air for me – to realize that there are intelligent people out there who are not prepared to go along with the herd mentality.

pwl
March 2, 2010 1:45 pm

From the article: “Blogs on genetics, the science of evolution, astrology and astronomy attract fierce postings from staunch believers and disbelievers, but inevitably it is climate change that has provoked the most abuse, especially from climate change deniers or “sceptics”.” – Amy Turner
That is a false statement in my experience. I find that it is those that support the alleged AGW hypothesis are the ones who can’t bite their tongues and keep their fingers from typing all kinds of vitriol. Just asking basic questions about the alleged AGW hypothesis trigger the nastiest ad hominem splatterings leading to censorship and exclusion from particular web sites in question; e.g. pharangula. Certainly living in a “green stronghold” city such as Vancouver one gets this type of caustic vitriol a lot as well when the topic is the alleged AGW hypothesis.
Being “right” at the exclusion of being able to politely discuss the topic at hand isn’t a virtue and most certainly isn’t a virtue on topics of science.
There is also the issue of science education, those that support the alleged AGW hypothesis don’t seem to consider that not everyone understands everything as some of them might think that they do. That is why we have questions built into human languages: for learning. It is much more difficult to learn when everyone or just about everyone you talk with about a topic attack you personally for asking questions on the topic at hand (in this case the alleged climate science of the alleged AGW hypothesis).
Given my interactions with people clearly many people who support the alleged AGW hypothesis are not actually informed at a detailed level about the alleged AGW hypothesis.
It sure makes it much harder to learn the very many complex details when one is attacked for asking questions about it.
Human brains evolved to easily accept “beliefs” since in many cases if you don’t accept the belief you’ll be dead. For example, kids are usually wise to believe their parents when they say there is a monster in the forest… it’s a good thing too since crocodiles like to chomp on humans just as much as they do other animals.
Learning to observe one’s own beliefs so that one can intercept their wayward impact upon you and others is an important skill for every human to develop. It’s also an important protection against being conned in life. It’s part of bringing rationality into your life, and rationality is at the root of the scientific method. By belief I mean thinking something is true or false when you have no evidence for it being so.
Evidence based rational thinking that eliminates belief as much as possible is in many ways alien to many people which is why science education is so important to the survival of our human civilization.
While it’s expedient it’s not enough for the media and others to simply make claims stating their position when it comes to topics of science, they must provide the actual evidence to back up their claims.

Stefan
March 2, 2010 1:46 pm

Philhippos (11:07:28) :
Trained negotiators know the vital importance of providing the potential mind-changer with a ladder that allows them to emerge…

Very interesting point. And great to see The Guardian taking these issues very seriously.

David Alan Evans
March 2, 2010 1:46 pm

I am a denier & proud of it!
I deny CAGW!
I accept that we have some influence on the climate through local influences but that CO2 can have significant effects upon the Earth, that I am sceptical of and catastrophic effects I deny!
The atmosphere just cannot hold that much energy given the current & probable future conditions.
When we can adequately explain the MWP & LIA, maybe we will have enough to contemplate human impacts seriously.
It’s the water stupid!
DaveE.

b.poli
March 2, 2010 1:48 pm

Richard Feyman: “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts” Deniers or sceptics – does that matter? Both can be very honorable positions and presumedly more honorable than the believer’s (in AGW). The deniers of Himalaya-glaciers-melting IPCC report were correct, not the sceptics. Who were the deniers? Those who went there an looked, real scientists.
“My position has been that there is no debate that the earth has warmed over the past 100+ years, ….” “Has been” or “is”? GISS is adjusting data (older ones down, younger ones up) every day, CRU are data non existent in the world of science (due to the Royal Scocieties of Physics, Chemistry and Statistica) – and there is no debate?
“No debate”? Really? “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts” and therefore the debate should never end – especially not when data and/or code are hidden. The Guardian has to learn a lot about science. They should start with a little Popper … I don’t care what people, who believe in the end of the scientific debate, call me.
Warming or not, CO2 or not – the debate will become a political one. How to argue with believe that there is no debate?

March 2, 2010 1:48 pm

For my part, I’d much rather be called a “Denier” than a “Skeptic” because the latter has connotations like “I have seen, but I have doubts”. Whereas my true position is that “I have seen” and “there are minimal doubts” that the whole thing is a monumental con trick, or at best, a monumental mistake.
So what should I be called?
As a scientist looking at climate change, I would actually quite like to be known as an “AGW scientist”. But that title has been usurped by the MSM to describe the clique of IPCC funded individuals whose agencies seek to tell us we’re wrecking the planet.
So, where do we go from here? Seems to me that we need a new plausible title.
I’d love to hear your suggestions (if Anthony doesn’t object).
How does anybody fancy something like “AGW Truth Seeker” (or something similar)? Corny, I know, but you see the sort of thing. (We can work on this.)
S

Lord Jim
March 2, 2010 1:49 pm

” Jose A Veragio (13:26:22) :
Good work Anthony.
That offensive piece Monbiot’s royal flush: Cut out and keep climate change denier cards that has typified the Guardians coverage, still taking pride of place on just about every Guardian page remotely connected to Climate Change, makes a mockery any supposed change of heart ‘though.”
Curious, look what Monbiot says about David Bellamy:
“He [Bellamy] maintains that “since I said I didn’t believe human beings caused global warming I’ve not been allowed to make a TV programme.” This is odd because he stopped making TV programmes in 1994. He was making public statements in support of mainstream climate science until at least 2000.”
Here’s what Bellamy says:
“My absence has been noticed, because wherever I go I meet people who say: “I grew up with you on the television, where are you now?” It was in 1996 that I criticised wind farms while appearing on children’s program Blue Peter, and I also had an article published in which I described global warming as poppycock. The truth is, I didn’t think wind farms were an effective means of alternative energy, so I said so. Back then, at the BBC you had to toe the line, and I wasn’t doing that.”
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/the-price-of-dissent/story-e6frg7b6-1111118127677

Green Sand
March 2, 2010 1:50 pm

Did somebody predict a “negotiation” stage?
I have never really been bothered about the denier handle, but I am aware that quite a few are. The only one that really annoyed me was being called a “flat-earther” by The Moron (Gordon is a Moron, a piece of prophetic punk rock)
How about: –
Seeker – someone making a search or inquiry; “they are seekers after truth”

Jaye
March 2, 2010 1:53 pm

The ’sceptics’ label is almost too generous a badge as very few are genuinely sceptical about the science
This statement invalidates the Guardian’s position wholesale. Reminds of something Rob Wilson or Judith Curry would say.

Jud
March 2, 2010 1:53 pm

Don’t worry about the terminology.
The eventual outcome will define the long term meaning associated with it.
A time will come when we will look back on ‘denialist’ as a badge of honour – belonging to the people who were there to defend science in its darkest hour.
I suspect many who are most entrenched on the ‘post normal standard practice’ side of the ‘debate’ right now will have quietly turned their coats inside out by that time, and will fondly recount their valiant battle against the corruption of science to anyone who will listen.

leg
March 2, 2010 1:54 pm

Anthony: for all the years I have been following your web sites, I have seen very few lapses to name-calling on your part or by those you invite to post. You are one of those whom I call a gentleman – in the finest sense of the word. I will not subscribe to any web site (or news program) where nastiness is the norm. My compliment to you is that I visit here nearly every day.
I hope you grasp the fact that it often takes decades to change entrenched, bad science. You (and others like McIntyre) have shortened that time frame dramatically. Thanks.
Essentially this site (and ClimateAudit even more so) is a peer review site. Peer review done in live-time via the web is fascinating to see and fun to participate in. I’m really hoping other sciences will see the value of this and start turning to it as a way to really share and debate information. If they follow your web site’s example, it could be an exciting (and fun!) step forward for science.

Richard M
March 2, 2010 1:58 pm

Mike (13:17:17) :
So, do you all agree to stop calling AGW a “hoax”? I do not know if that term has been used on this blog, but it certainly gets used a lot.
I would tend to call Inhofe a denier and Lindzen a skeptic.
In terms of debate, one needs to distinguish between scientific debate and public debate. There is no scientific debate on the veracity of natural selection driving evolution, but there is certainly a public debate. There is very little debate amoung professional climatogists the AGW is real and series. Even Lindzen says humans are responcible for about 1/3 of the obversed GW?

Personally, I’m skeptical of Lindzen’s guess.
The question about warming is also moot. Even if there is no warming doesn’t mean AGW is false, and likewise, warming itself does not mean AGW is true. The only thing that matters is whether the sum of our knowledge is sufficent to understand climate.
In cancer research a lot has been learned over the last 50 years. Much more time has been spent in this research than has been spent studying climate. Still, we have no cure. What does that mean? It means we KNOW that we still have more to learn. In climate science you have nothing to measure your knowledge against. You simply have assertions by some climate scientists that they have enough knowledge to make their assertions.
The fact that some people believe these assertions and some people don’t is usually based on many factors. I think experience has caused many people to doubt that our knowledge is sufficient to understand climate. It doesn’t help that many of those making the assertions have been hiding data, massaging data and attempting to control the peer review process.
PS. The real debate in climate science is about sensitivity. It is what determines whether any severe problems are even possible. In that area there is much debate. If you don’t understand this, you have on blindfolds.

R.S.Brown
March 2, 2010 2:06 pm

Anthony,
It’s my impression that some consider ’sceptic’ to be on par
with the shorthand concepts of “know nothings” and in the
lowest form, “Troglodyte”.
One one side of the debate, ’sceptic’ is a badge of honor,
with centuries of saying “Prove it.”. The other side seems
fixated on depicting the “sceptic” as being willfully ignorant.
Debates alway seem to come with lapel pins and labels.
May we continue to call the trolls “trolls” ?
REPLY: Troll is usually applied to somebody who posts anonymously, and I’ve used the term since it started on early BBS’s and not in climate debate. -A

March 2, 2010 2:06 pm

“Climate Skeptics”…. I don’t believe that ANYONE is skeptical that climate exists!

Jose A Veragio
March 2, 2010 2:07 pm

Speaking of the Guardian, what’s happened to George Monbiot ?
Have you seen his latest piece,
Are we really going to let ourselves be duped into this solar panel rip-off ?
Championing the little guy, who’s being ripped off by big Government !
Decrying the incredible inefficiencies of Solar & Wind power !
Astounding.
Are he & Lord Monckton really just kindred spirits.

LeoR
March 2, 2010 2:09 pm

Rational discussion is returning to this field of science. Why? Because the truth is winning out, and the proponents of AGW are running scared. Some have crossed the line, and should be prosecuted. The politics are slowly being weaned out, and without this political support, I suspect the hypothesis of AGW and it’s doomsday effects will be proven wrong or have none to minimal impact. Proven cost-effective technology in service or in the design stage, should once again take a front seat, to solve real pollution problems.

Pete Ballard
March 2, 2010 2:11 pm

Amazing what good can come from just a little leak/hack.

Paul Vaughan
March 2, 2010 2:11 pm

There’s no victory here. There term “climate sceptic” simply doesn’t fit reality. I am most certainly NOT sceptical that climate change occurs naturally. Also, “denier” is a useful term for differentiating hyperpartisan clowns, who pollute serious discussions about natural climate variations. I advocate use of the term and dismiss frivolously-based coercion to reserve use of the term for very narrow contexts (which have absolutely nothing to do with the climate discussion). Others may disagree – no problem with disagreement – it is normal. The term “climate sceptic” is just going to mislead the public into thinking, “What idiots! They think climate is static! They MUST be political hyperpartisan nut-jobs.” We can’t settle for this. “Nonalarmist” makes WAY more sense – it conveys the truth – i.e. “This person simply is not alarmed about climate change” (which includes natural climate change …something we’ll have to keep endlessly pointing out, of course). Having conveyed all this, I will add that I respect the host – (I disagree publicly out of a sense of responsibility).

pwl
March 2, 2010 2:11 pm

“Three cheers for democracy, then. But what about faith in the academics’ authority?” – Amy Turner
What? You’re kidding right Amy? Faith?
Belief is thinking something is true or false when you have no evidence for it being so.
Faith is believing something is true or false even when you have tons of evidence that it is not so. With faith you don’t care about evidence since your “faith” will carry you instead of the hard objective reality.
Amy Turner is asking us to rely upon “faith” to trust “in the academics’ authority”? You’ve got to be kidding.
Maybe if Phil Jones and Michael Mann et. al. were forthcoming when asked the first time with their data and program source codes they might have been afforded some respect as a scientist. However, that ship sailed a long time ago by their own decisions taking with them any hope of any “faith” or “respect”. Their bad decisions have lead them to bad scientists.
Furthermore, “faith in authority” is a logical fallacy when it comes to science. It’s just really bad thinking on Amy Turner’s part to appeal to authority. It shows that she doesn’t comprehend the scientific method at all. Science and scientists are supposed to be questioned about their claims, that is how science progresses.
Clearly Amy Turner would rather science be a religion with blind faith in beliefs just based upon the high academic priests pronouncements that it’s true. It’s a sad day for alleged science journalism Amy Turner.

pwl
March 2, 2010 2:16 pm

Oops, that should be:
Their bad decisions have lead them to BE bad scientists.

Edward Bancroft
March 2, 2010 2:16 pm

This is a welcome shift in the Guardian stance on AGW, but is I think more designed to damp down some of the impetus of those who have demonstrated the flaws and misdirections of the IPCC/CRU/AGW camp. The Guardian journalists can see that a lot of traction has been gained by the opposition to the AGW belief over the last few months, and that certain major UK media, The Times, and The Telegraph, in particular have been active in exposing the deceit.
The Times and Telegraph both have circulations higher than the Guardian, and a readership with higher educational attainments than their own reader base. I suspect that the Guardian readers have mostly arts or sociology backgrounds, whilst the others have a mix of socio, arts, economic, and of course science backgrounds. The weight of informed opinion is clearly not in favour of the Guardian.
In the past, the Guardian has not held back from using single local weather events to justify AGW. The floods last year in the UK were blamed on AGW, the hurricane Katrina also, and a hot summer in 2003 was also given the weather=climate journalistic spin. Yet in their article, when the Daily Express uses the recent very cold winter to question AGW, they say:
“With due respect to the Express’s scientific rigour, is it appropriate, do you think, to dignify such claptrap as climate change scepticism? ”
So most dangerously, the Guardian are still not aware of their own hypocrisy, nor indeed of their possible culpability in misleading the public with their unquestioning, uncritical, and unjournalistic AGW stance.

March 2, 2010 2:17 pm

The real problem with us “Deniers” is this:
http://www.metacafe.com/watch/410397/dilbert_the_knack/
When ever I meet a fellow “Denier”, 90% of the time I ask..”Are you an Engineer”. About the only “engineers” who are AWG cultists (heh, heh, my term for them..call me Dogbert) they say, “Yes, how did you know?”.
Max

Jordan
March 2, 2010 2:17 pm

Guardian: “they will believe any old rubbish that suits their cause …”
On this side of the House, we have a particular view about who believes any old rubbish to suit their cause.
Guardian: “If someone really does think that climate change is not happening – that the world is not warming – then it seems fair enough to call them a denier”
I give you the shaft of the Hockey Stick. This is a well documented claim that the climate had not changed for more than a millenium …. bringing us neatly back to those who will believe any old rubbish.

geo
March 2, 2010 2:18 pm

Good for them.
If the high-profile skeptics would like a chance to reciprocate, then giving coverage (and deploring the phenomenon it descrbes) to this would be a pretty good place to do it: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=climate-cyber-bullying

March 2, 2010 2:18 pm

Opps, Charles can you fix the problem?
The real problem with us “Deniers” is this:
http://www.metacafe.com/watch/410397/dilbert_the_knack/
When ever I meet a fellow “Denier”, 90% of the time I ask..”Are you an Engineer” they say, “Yes, how did you know?”. About the only “engineers” who are AWG cultists are computer engineers(heh, heh, my term for them..call me Dogbert)
Max

hunter
March 2, 2010 2:21 pm

My take is that this is an incremental step, in line with Dr. Curry’s of last week, rather than a sea change.
A sea change would be for the media to start saying “‘alleged’ climate crisis”, and to label AGW promoters as extremists or political supporters of AGW, etc.
A sea change would be for politicians to critically review the claims and methods and procedures of AGW promoters, while the promoters are under oath.
We are not there yet, but things are changing.
The sea may not be changing, but the tide is turning.

David, UK
March 2, 2010 2:23 pm

“The ’sceptics’ label is almost too generous a badge as very few are genuinely sceptical about the science but I think we have to accept the name is now common parlance.”
Very few are genuinely sceptical? Oh please, O-Guardian! There were enough genuinely sceptical scientists (and people in general) BEFORE the Climategate revelations. Now AFTER those revelations I would hope MOST people are sceptical. And if they are not, then it is they who are in denial.

Gail Combs
March 2, 2010 2:23 pm

As far as I am concerned “denier” is in the same category as the politically incorrect term for“black” yet It is acceptable for politicians and the media to call me a “denier’ but it is not acceptable for me to use the politically incorrect term for “black” to describe Obama.
Pot met kettle. The hypocrisy is sickening.
I am afraid I agree with Alexander Feht at (11:20:06)
You are dining with the Devil who wishes to have the appearance of occupying the moral high ground, and you are granting that moral high ground to the Guardian in the way you are dealing with them. CAGW has been a fraud knowingly used to manipulate the public for over 35 years. It has done much harm including killing thousands if not millions of children through starvation.
“Using United Nations global poverty statistics as a base, it is now clear that United States and European Union biofuel policies will significantly contribute to the early, avoidable deaths of between 10 and 20 million people in the year 2008 alone…. Two years ago the price of corn was only $2 bushel, but expanding ethanol production has pushed corn prices up to over $6 a bushel today, … In the year 2007, the USA alone turned enough corn, soybeans, and rapeseed into biofuels to satisfy the yearly caloric needs of over 250 million people. The World Bank states that staple food prices have increased by an incredible 80% in the 3 year period from 2005 to 2008, and that 33 nations now face political instability as a result. There have been food riots in at least 20 different countries, even in wealthy Italy.”
http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_christop_080410_the_great_biofuel_fa.htm
Here is the evidence that CAGW was a fraud done for political reasons:
“In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill … All these dangers are caused by human intervention and it is only through changed attitudes and behaviour that they can be overcome. The real enemy, then, is humanity itself.”
— in The First Global Revolution, pp.104-105 by Alexander King, founder of the Club of Rome and Bertrand Schneider, secretary of the Club of Rome
Ask the writers at the Guardian how they feel about contributing to the deaths of thousands of children in their frenzied support of Global Warming. Are they going to apologize to the families of all those children? Are they going to make monetary restitution when time proves CAGW to be the biggest science fraud put over on a gullible public?
I would really like to hear an answer to these questions from the Guardian staff. I think it is about time the media has its feet held to the fire when they contribute to the deaths of millions because of irresponsible reporting.

Gary
March 2, 2010 2:39 pm

OK, should global warming “alarmists” will now be called “advocates?”
I expect there will much opposition by those who have called themselves “sceptics” about many other issues because from my observations they mostly support AGW ideas and severely criticize those who don’t. We’ll be accused of trying to camouflage ourselves with *their* label.

pat
March 2, 2010 2:41 pm

the ‘D’ word is only a symptom of a much bigger problem.
read the Guardian’s piece – how many times does it mention ‘climate change’? why doesn’t the article discuss the misuse of the generic ‘climate change’, which should be ‘catastrophic anthopogenic climate change’.
it is not by accident that the generic terms – ‘global warming’ and ‘climate change’ have been adopted by the entire MSM. their use is unscientific, dishonest, and propagandistic, and has ennabled the MSM to portray skeptics of CAGW as ‘deniers’ of natural processes. skeptics argue over access to data, interpretation of data that is available, degrees of warming, what it means, what should or shouldn’t be done, etc.
ridding news stories of the ‘D’ word means nothing if the MSM continues to use these generic terms.
Sage Journal: What’s in a name? Commonalities and differences in public understanding of “climate change” and “global warming”
Lorraine Whitmarsh
Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK
The findings point to important qualitative, as well as quantitative, differences between public understanding of “climate change” and public understanding of “global warming.” Furthermore, the latter term was found to evoke more concern than the former. As discussed in the article, these results have important implications for both researchers and communicators
This version was published on July 1, 2009
http://pus.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/18/4/401
September 2004: The Social Simulation of the Public Perception
of Weather Events and their Effect upon the
Development of Belief in Anthropogenic
Climate Change
Dennis Bray, GKSS Forschungszentrum, Geesthacht, D-
21502, Germany
Simon Shackley, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change
Research, University of Manchester, M60 1QD
Tyndall Centre Working Paper No. 58
In this paper, we explore under what conditions belief in global warming or climate change, as identified and defined by experience, science and the media, can be maintained in the public’s perception
http://www.tyndall.ac.uk/sites/default/files/wp58.pdf

March 2, 2010 2:46 pm

The Guardian was sponsored, leading up to Copenhagen by Shell Oil, E.ON coal, and nunerous other companies to promote carbon trading. They are still doing it, even though the adverts are gone.
They don’t believe what they are writing, they are being paid.

Marlene Anderson
March 2, 2010 2:51 pm

It’s a good and welcome start though their environmental editor’s pro-AGW stance is evident from the comment, “On the other hand there are some who are literally in denial about the evidence.” The only thing you can deny is that which is irrefutably true and the evidence presented to-date leaves too many questions unanswered or wrongly answered to say CAGW is irrefutable.

March 2, 2010 2:51 pm

Bishop Hill posted some curious notes about a meeting of press and others at Oxford Uni last Friday. Dunno the status of these notes (verbatum? quotable?) but there are some interesting insights into the views of journalists:
DA of the guardian:
I used to think sceptics were bad and mad but now the bad people (lobbyists for fossil fuel industries) had gone, leaving only the mad.
DA: The meaning of sceptic is very specific. It’s not taxi drivers or people who don’t want to pay higher electricity bills. It’s someone who knows better and takes a contrary view for pathological reasons. No journalists believe that climate science was undermined by the emails.
DA: We can no longer call people deniers. We need a new term. Some people have suggested “climate creationists”.
BJ of the Sun
We need to present the sceptical [point of view]. Last year we just printed press releases on AGW if they came from people with the right credentials; that won’t do any longer.
FH of Financial times:
A short-term disaster is needed to guarantee coverage as people aren’t good at processing information about there being no ice at the poles in 30 years. Or get David Attenborough as the front man because everyone trusts him.
[I’ve always been curious about Attenborough – avoiding the issue and then recently attaching his name to another issue instead (population)]

mercurior
March 2, 2010 2:54 pm

If you read the article at the end they state
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/mar/01/climate-change-scepticism-style-guide
“If someone really does think that climate change is not happening – that the world is not warming – then it seems fair enough to call them a denier (and I’d love them to explain to me why comma butterflies are flying north to Scotland, for the first time in history, as fast as their jagged little wings will take them). A final quotation, this time from George Jean Nathan: “The path of sound credence is through the thick forest of scepticism.” Let’s hope no one’s burned down the forest to build a motorway or drill for oil.”

INGSOC
March 2, 2010 2:54 pm

Some may have noticed that I have not commented much for the past three months. This is for the exact reasons Anthony eludes too above. (Quitting smoking has had more than a little to do with it as well)
Enough slander. Time to get back to sound methods. I too am encouraged by the Guardians tone.

John Galt
March 2, 2010 2:56 pm

Mike (13:17:17) :
So, do you all agree to stop calling AGW a “hoax”? I do not know if that term has been used on this blog, but it certainly gets used a lot.
I would tend to call Inhofe a denier and Lindzen a skeptic.
In terms of debate, one needs to distinguish between scientific debate and public debate. There is no scientific debate on the veracity of natural selection driving evolution, but there is certainly a public debate. There is very little debate amoung professional climatogists the AGW is real and series. Even Lindzen says humans are responcible for about 1/3 of the obversed GW.

A hoax is an intentional attempt to deceive or defraud (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hoax). For most AGW supporters, that certainly is not the case. People are generally misusing the term when the refer to AGW as a hoax or fraud.
But the sincerity of the climate scientists and non-scientists supported AGW is not really the issue. The veracity of the claims is what is important.
For instance, what is the factual basis for the claims that recent warming is unprecedented? Is the claim unequivocal or supported by the preponderance of the evidence?
It is, but only if you out-of-hand throw out the mass of evidence that indicates otherwise.

March 2, 2010 2:57 pm

Anthony,
The current global warming supporters/protagonists do not stop at just it is warmer, and it is, to a large extent, because of humans. They also go on to expound on unproven theories about what it’s effect will be on the people and the other living things ( crops, polar bears, etc, etc ).

brent
March 2, 2010 2:59 pm

re J.Peden (13:41:41) :
I’ve long called it “Sceance”
cheers
brent

John R. Walker
March 2, 2010 3:00 pm

To put it bluntly, in the current frame of reference, I have no problem with being called an AGW denier. I wear it as a badge of honour!
I am not interested in the tortological twaddle that comes from ‘the other side’, nor in their concessions at this late stage in the collapse of their fraudulent belief system.
They do not owe me an apology for calling me a denier, they owe me an apology for being wrong from the outset…
As far as I am concerned the AGW believers are the deniers not me!

John E.
March 2, 2010 3:02 pm

“I use the term deniers not because I am seeking to make a link with the Holocaust, but because I can’t think what else to call them. They describe themselves as sceptics, but this is plainly wrong, as they will believe any old rubbish that suits their cause … We badly need a new term for general use.”
How about calling them ‘mistaken, IMO.’ The only reason that won’t work for this proud fellow is that he wants a term that allows him to ascribe motivations — “they will believe any old rubbish that suits their cause” — of which in most or all cases he has no actual personal knowledge. That’s the rub Mr. Marsh if you are listening to us. What users of this term are after in the first place is an insulting term to characterize those who disagree as tendentious enemies of their own righteous cause. It is self-righteous disrespect for disagreement.

lex
March 2, 2010 3:02 pm

It was the least the Guardian could do. Just 6 months ago sceptics were declared deniers, believers of the flat earth etc.
Nonetheless I believe one should give someone a chance to retreat.

DirkH
March 2, 2010 3:10 pm

“berniel (14:51:56) :
[…]
[I’ve always been curious about Attenborough – avoiding the issue and then recently attaching his name to another issue instead (population)”
Don’t know about the opinion Attenborough has, but he has been used for an AGW film by the BBC where some apprentice scientist impersonator youngster shows him, i don’t know, some hockey stick shaped graph printed in huge size on the floor and a befuddled Attenborough goes along that graph that shows a dramatical and possibly catastrophic upswing… Maybe he had to do that given the employer. You find the snippet on Youtube.
“The Truth About Global Warming”

Jose A Veragio
March 2, 2010 3:12 pm


[I’ve always been curious about Attenborough – avoiding the issue and then recently attaching his name to another issue instead (population)]

Indeed.
He saw what happened to David Bellamy, who used to work at the BBC, where he still does and presumably still wants to.

March 2, 2010 3:18 pm

I use the phrase AGW believer.
Accurate,neutral and easy to understand.

mick
March 2, 2010 3:23 pm

Climate skeptics? What – skeptical there is a climate? The funny thing is how this’ll probably also re-highlight that earlier, fatuous, intellectual sleight of hand involved with the consensus building style change from ‘global warming’ to ‘climate change’.
But i they start up with creationists instead, they’ll have proved beyond a shadow of a doubt they are truly malignant wankers.

meemoe_uk
March 2, 2010 3:32 pm

“On that note let me say that we could all (and that includes me) benefit from the dialing back of the use of labels”
Ok. I sometimes labeled AGWer as ‘pushers’ since they often seemed to be pushing it on kids while they themselves did hertical things such as drive big cars.
I didn’t see anyone else use the term. But I provide it here to make sure no one else uses it during this armistice. ( Also in case they need to use it after armistice )

Neven
March 2, 2010 3:34 pm

By objecting to the labels ‘denier’ and ‘denialist’ you allow certain elements (who actually do deny that the atmosphere isn’t warming and/or that there hasn’t been an increase of CO2 and/or that human emissions of GHGs cannot have any influence on the atmosphere’s temperatures) to hide behind the larger group of so-called skeptics. The rise of these elements has further been made possible by an ongoing PR campaign to discredit AGW theory and climate science in general in order to delay action on AGW and maintain the status quo for financial and/or ideological reasons. This PR campaign is more difficult to discern if it can be hidden under the guise of skepticism.
So there has to be a subdivision in the term ‘skeptic’ into two categories: genuine skeptics and … . What would you suggest, Mr Watts? Inactivists, delayers, pseudo-skeptics, climate creationists?
Likewise, there has to be a subdivision on the other side into warmers and alarmists, in my opinion. The former being scientists and people who are genuinely worried about the possibility of AGW becoming a serious impediment to society and economy, the latter being enviro’s who scream the end is nigh and polar cities should be created to save the chosen few.
So in my terminology, you have a spectrum of alarmists and warmers on one side, and lukewarmers (skeptic of catastrophic warming any time soon) and denialists (skeptic of whatever threatens their world view) on the other. I believe it would be a good thing if everyone would honestly say to what category he or she belongs (especially the bloggers who have an influence on public perception) in order to increase transparency.
For the record, I myself am an alarmist in many ways. 🙂

Indiana Bones
March 2, 2010 3:35 pm

Sean Peake (11:18:55) :
Ian E: Quite right, though I’d rather be called a flat earther than be flat headed (or with a low sloping forehead at minimum) like the many rabid politicians. The former is kind of quaint and endearing, the latter, well.. says it all.
There exists in this world a virtual cataclysm of cleverness disguised as plain language. However, like any code or encryption – once deciphered it provides endless illumination about its creators.
Flat earth belief is founded in scripture and embraced with a vengeance by the Church (yet deny it to this day.) One of its more elegant spokesmen Cosmas Indicopleustes, claimed the Earth was flat and lay beneath the heavens consisting of a rectangular vaulted arch. In his famous “Topographia Christiana,” Cosmas described it thus:
“We say therefore with Isaiah that the heaven embracing the universe is a vault, with Job that it is joined to the earth, and with Moses that the length of the earth is greater than its breadth.”
Flat headed conservators find their origins in the pulpit where they confound their cleverness with an absence of clothing.

James Sexton
March 2, 2010 3:37 pm

It’s nice to see they’re actually considering counting people skeptical recent climate “science” part of the human race again, but obviously they’ve a long, long way to go.
“On the other hand there are some who are literally in denial about the evidence.”
This is the problem. Exactly, what (insert any/multiple swear words) evidence is he talking about? The consensus certainty of our increasing temps? Wait, no, it’s the increase in the amount and force of the hurricanes. Or the “evidence” that we’re all going to drown when the Arctic will certainly melt? Maybe it is the evident Himalayan glacial melt. I fear, they are giving skeptics some ink, but they’re not even reading the material they’re printing.

HB
March 2, 2010 3:38 pm

Here’s my comment to Mr Marsh of the Guardian:
Dear Mr Marsh,
I have concerns about your conclusions:
“Rather than opening itself to the charge of denigrating people for their beliefs, a fair newspaper should always try to address what it is that people are sceptical about or deny.
In the climate debate, I’d be suggesting that we should be focussing on the science. It’s not about belief, its about science, and the climategate emails showed that correct scientific method was not followed. This has required faith, or belief, since the science is not replicable. Steve Mcintyre tried to replicate Phil Jones’s work but couldn’t, and was not given access to the raw data or code, once he expressed concern.
The term sceptics covers those who argue that climate change is exaggerated, or not caused by human activity.
How about “sceptics” are those who want to see the evidence, before advocating for a particular point?
If someone really does think that climate change is not happening – that the world is not warming – then it seems fair enough to call them a denier (and I’d love them to explain to me why comma butterflies are flying north to Scotland, for the first time in history, as fast as their jagged little wings will take them).
I’m a died-in-the-wool greenie, always have been, and I have seen evidence that the climate is changing, but even Phil Jones has agreed that the world’s average temperature has cooled over the last few years. The world IS currently NOT warming. I’d also suggest that you should check the evidence on the butterflies. I couldn’t find any, but did see that it’s range has generally increased considerably throughout the UK in the 20th century. See here. If they have flown north the last couple of years, how do you know that its global warming causing them to do so? Does this make me a denier?
Calling anyone names is silly and pointless. The climate debate should be about science and evidence. Names add nothing to the debate.

meemoe_uk
March 2, 2010 3:45 pm

Should point out also that the guardian is the propaganda rag aimed at young adults ( clue in the name ) , and so is jealously guarded. the AGW movement is out to capture young people’s minds more than the old peoples.
Like others have said, I don’t expect there to be any real progress with these people, they’re only doing this denier – skeptic retraction PR stunt so as to look. They’ve no intention of getting at the truth.

Gary Hladik
March 2, 2010 3:46 pm

One word from one paper. Not so much a “sea change” as a “pond change”.

debreuil
March 2, 2010 3:51 pm

“On the other hand there are some who are literally in denial about the evidence.”
I hear that a lot, but that really needs clarification. Which evidence, and which people? Almost to a one, skeptics I’ve come across agree that the world seems to be warming about one degree per century since the LIA. After that there isn’t much to ‘deny’. Do they mean doubt about temperature records? Doubt about temperature reconstructions? Belief that the MWP happened? Belief that the IPCC acted as an advocacy group? Doubt about the predicted magnitude of forcings based on the increase of temp due to CO2? Maybe its worse than that and I just don’t know of enough wacko skeptic blogs..?
Ideally I would like to see casual statements like that become a bit more specific. If they mean the fringe, it isn’t news (since BBSs the internet has had trolls, nothing to see). If they mean the majority of content (hit wise) then it is an issue.
I don’t worry about the non scientific fringes of people who are worried about AGW, or even the advocacy groups so much (WWF, Greenpeace). It is the mainstream scientists (real climate, emails) that are acting very unscientific in both the science and the attitude towards science. On the flip side, the mainstream skeptics and skeptic blogs tend to be very open, explain methodologies, supply data, post code, acknowledge and retract errors…
If you have another Enron (which imo we have here), its fine to tone down the passion — but its very hard to meet them halfway on the facts.

RockyRoad
March 2, 2010 3:52 pm

berniel (14:51:56) :
(…)
DA: The meaning of sceptic is very specific. It’s not taxi drivers or people who don’t want to pay higher electricity bills. It’s someone who knows better and takes a contrary view for pathological reasons. No journalists believe that climate science was undermined by the emails.
————
Reply: “pathological reasons”? He actually said that? The reason no journalists believe that climate science was undermined by the emails is simple–anything you see can be ascribed to their version of “climate science”. You wait and see; the next Ice Age will be considered the product of “climate science” and all of you people that contributed to the CO2 level will be terminated. However, these self-righteous journalists have been completely scooped by bloggers on the Internet. That realization has really gotta hurt! (Booker is a “journalist” and he understands what the emails said.)
DA: We can no longer call people deniers. We need a new term. Some people have suggested “climate creationists”.
————-
Reply: I still prefer the term “climate realist”. It is the AGWers who are turning out to be the “creationists” (something out of nothing).
BJ of the Sun
We need to present the sceptical [point of view]. Last year we just printed press releases on AGW if they came from people with the right credentials; that won’t do any longer.
————-
Reply: Yup. “right credentials” now means “wrong science”. Who here would even consider buying a used car from any of these “credentialed climate scientists”?

D Gallagher
March 2, 2010 3:52 pm

I really like Dr. Richard Lindzen’s position – he says that to the extent possible, he is a denier, not skeptic. Using the the term skeptic implies that the warmists have presented a logical and reasonable case for AGW, but that he has reservations about certain aspects. That’s not the case – they are wrong, and he denies any validity to their arguments.
His explaination is at the 6:00 mark. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VYbJsaA0Fo
Regardless of what Anthony and the Guardian think – please don’t call ME a skeptic, to the extent possible, i’m a denier.

Carbon Dioxide
March 2, 2010 3:53 pm

“[I’ve always been curious about Attenborough – avoiding the issue and then recently attaching his name to another issue instead (population)]”
I was also rather bemused by Attenborough’s series on population, because although he doesnt actually mention AGW, he discusses the doubling of the size of humankind since the early 60s, the exponential increase in food production and pressure on water resources since 1970.
He then talks about the effect of the projected 50% increase in population over the next 40 years and how this will impact on the worlds resources.
The impression one gets is that it is the truely unprecedented number of people wandering the face of this planet and the demands that places on it that is the cause of the symptoms ascribed to AGW, not CO2 emissions etc.
Interestingly, in an earlier Attenborough series “The First Eden- Man and the Mediterrean world” he discuses the rise of Classical civilisation and the colonisation of the Mediterrean basin by inumerable Greek cities, supported by a agricultural hinterland- anf their subsequent decline due to the land being over exploited and deforested, the soil being washed into the sea, silting up once prosperous harbours and the cities abandoned and totally forgotten, leaving the area easy prey for the advance of Islam in the 7th century.
Getting back to his recent series on population, Ithink one would forgiven if this was in reality a sideways swipe at the AGW religion, and one which the fluffy politically correct would find uncomfortable with, that the climate change which they see everywhere is in fact really the consequence of the doubling of the population in the developing world.
The problem is, theres simply too many of us.

sagi
March 2, 2010 3:55 pm

If the Guardian and other MSM types can use the language ‘alarmist’ vs ‘skeptic’, that sounds balanced.
The alarm is either valid or not.
If there is nothing to be alarmed about, than we can move on and get the details right for the record later on.
If there is something to be alarmed about, then let those who think so make their case openly and respectfully, and convince those who are now skeptical … and vice versa.
But balanced and non-pejorative labels are needed from the start if there is to be any useful dialog. Until neither side is presumed to be correct by the media no fair discussion can occur in their reporting.

Carbon Dioxide
March 2, 2010 3:58 pm

“Flat earth belief is founded in scripture and embraced with a vengeance by the Church (yet deny it to this day.)”
And yet, the spheriodal shape of the Earth (and even its diameter to an accuracy of 30 miles)was known and proven in Pagan times.

rbateman
March 2, 2010 3:58 pm

John Galt (12:49:16) :
The climate does change, which makes climate change an overblown half-truthed non-issue. Perfect for political storms.
It looks as bad as a car that has been painted with a can of Krylon.

March 2, 2010 3:58 pm

And for those who haven’t noticed, the commenter at the Guardian…
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/mar/01/climate-change-scepticism-style-guide?showallcomments=true#CommentKey:2e5894e5-6042-4794-8c07-be63d41e4642
…with the greatest number of recommendations is Lubos Motl, a skeptic, a point he is very clear about.

Imran
March 2, 2010 4:00 pm

It is unfortunate that the paper still has those who cling to old notions :
“On the other hand there are some who are literally in denial about the evidence.”
This to me is the very heart of the matter. Interpreting and wanting to discuss the ‘evidence’ is not the same as being in denial of a ‘truth’. It is about where you draw the line between ‘truth’ and ‘interpretation’. If something is not a ‘truth’ then you cannot be accused of being in denial.

john
March 2, 2010 4:02 pm

A small circulatiob rag that is sinking fast.
I don’t care what they say or think.
This is a war to get at the truth, I
Do not fratenise with the enemy. Sorry old chap.

kim
March 2, 2010 4:02 pm

I never much minded the pejorative ‘denier’ because it was pretty mild compared to the rest of the stuff I’ve been called.
==================

IanB
March 2, 2010 4:03 pm

This is a storm in a tea cup. I have worn the badge of ‘Global Warming/Climate Change Denier’ with pride, more now than ever.

peter_dtm
March 2, 2010 4:08 pm

well now – the gruniad is going to stop insulting rational skeptical scientists and people who understand science ?
The next thing you’ll be telling me is that the socialists who work for the gruniad will propose the lowering of taxes; the shrinking of government and that they will start campaigning for the reduction of the nanny state.
They speak with forked tongue; they will be sniggering in their oh so superior ‘we know best’ attitude of total delusion.
They have no interest in truth – they never have; else they would be condemning the entire corrupt 3rd world instead of supporting those anti-democrat anti-western governments who seem to wish for nothing but the end of the west.
No I am not convinced by them; I suspect they will type skeptic with the same hate and disdain with which they previously typed denier.
I however will continue to attempt to avoid falling into their trap of meaningless name calling.

Carbon Dioxide
March 2, 2010 4:13 pm

Medieval Catholic Christian proof of the existance of God-
“God must exist, because if he didnt, those who prey to him would be wasting their time”
Does anyone else see the inane childishness of what passes for logic in this statement reflected in some of rhetoric churned out as “evidence” for the existance of AGW?

IanB
March 2, 2010 4:13 pm

In fact if anyone wants to call me ‘A IPCC Denier’, feel free.

Carbon Dioxide
March 2, 2010 4:17 pm

Its a circular argument for simpletons, which assumes its own conclusion (ie the existance of God/AGW) is acceptable as supporting evidence for itself.

March 2, 2010 4:21 pm

, Edinburgh (11:20:07) :
Re, Censoring on CiF.
Yes – on Monbiot’s column today asked him whether he had ever responded to Peter Taylor’s (author of the excellent “Chill”) request to debate AGW with him. This was deleted. The Guardian’s line on AGW is, regardless of their decision to stop using a profoundly abusive term for those who do not toe their party line, is that it is a fact, and cannot be denied or doubted in any way.
Piss poor, frankly, piss poor.

Mike Ramsey
March 2, 2010 4:22 pm

UPDATE:
In related news, the nastiness of debate caused one long time blogger to close his discussion forum.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/science/article7043753.ece
“He went on to describe his disbelief at the blogosphere’s vitriol and tendency to overreact to trivia and concluded that “there is something rotten in the internet culture”.”
There are trolls who, having nothing of substance to offer, resort to hurling insults.  “Insults is all they got”.
On usenet it is customary to use kill files to filter out known trolls.
My advice is forget them.  It’s not like they are going to convince anybody that they have anything to offer or that the target of their insults is some how lessened.  Kill file them and remember the usenet adage, “Don’t feed the trolls”.
Mike Ramsey

bob
March 2, 2010 4:23 pm

The use of the word, denier, is more than disgraceful and should not be used in such a trivial manner. I will note that the editor is right when he says that some skeptics are in denial. The point he misses is that many AGW advocates are in denial, too.
Thanks for your keeping WUWT discussions on a more civil level.

Neven
March 2, 2010 4:24 pm

[I’ve always been curious about Attenborough – avoiding the issue and then recently attaching his name to another issue instead (population)]

Actually, it was an interview by David Attenborough quite a few years ago that first made me question my skeptic attitude towards AGW: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/attenborough-climate-change-is-the-major-challenge-facing-the-world-479459.html

Carbon Dioxide
March 2, 2010 4:25 pm

The persecution of heresy has always been a sign of the admition of weakness of the orthodox position.

March 2, 2010 4:29 pm

@Carbon Dioxide.
> anf their subsequent decline due to the land being over exploited and deforested, the soil being washed into the sea, silting up once prosperous harbours and the cities abandoned and totally forgotten, leaving the area easy prey for the advance of Islam in the 7th century.
The reason that cities were abandoned, and much of the Byzantine Empire fell easily to Islam, was not deforestation or overpopulation or falling agricultural production per person.
The real reason: The population was shrinking. Fast. Because of an unprecedented epidemic of disease – worse than the 14th Century’s Black Death.
This was known as the Plague of Justinian, and was form of bubonic plague (spread by fleas on rats). It started in 541, and there new outbreaks continued periodically until 700. It probably killed 50%, perhaps 60% of the population of Europe, and probably an even higher percentage of the Byzantine population.

March 2, 2010 4:32 pm

@Carbon Dioxide
The reason that much of the Byzantine Empire fell to Islam, was not over-population, deforestation, resource depletion or anything like that.
The reason was about than half the population dropped dead within a few short years from an outbreak of epidemic disease.
It was called the plague of Justinian, and began in 541. Outbreaks continued until 700. It wiped out more than half the population of Europe.

RichieP
March 2, 2010 4:35 pm

Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes
I distrust the Guardian completely, not only for their stance on AGW but also for their shameless and agenda-driven censorship of their Comment Is Free (sic, ha!), that it will take a lot more than an editorial meeting to convince me. They’re very nervous with an election coming up and a hostile Tory party hull-up in the offing. They know they need to be careful about who they upset over the next few months. We need deeds not words from them.
I’m with these guys:
@kwik (13:06:36) :
“stephen richards (11:26:02) :
“I am not inclined to forgive and forget the past activities of the Grauniad. They knew all along what they were doing. Their derisive remarks against well qualified scientists, many times more knowledgeable than them, were always unacceptable and against all principles of good, impartial journalism.”
HEAR! HEAR!”

March 2, 2010 4:35 pm

I seem to recall who started the name calling, is Al Gore going to buy in?
But what is now needed is real science.

Anand
March 2, 2010 4:37 pm

Mr Anthony Watts
I have to strongly object to your line of argument. Mr Mosher and you, in recent times, have pushed the idea that there is much common ground between the scientific intelligentsia in the anthropogenic warming camp and the other side – for which the shorthand ‘denier’, unfortunately or otherwise, has been employed. And therefore the pejorative term ‘denier’ is unpleasant and what not and comes in the way of building bridges across whatever differences there might exist between the two sides.
The same idea has been advanced by Dr J Curry in a different context, to which Mr Eschenbach took exception to.
Your Guardian letter also contains another note of reconciliation when it states:
“…many who simply want the science to be right and reasonable solutions enacted would be a watershed event in mending fences.”
I don’t presume to tell you the history of the idea of anthropogenic warming. and about how it came packaged with full-blown certainty from the very first day it reared its head. The study of climate has its concurrent birth with this idea, or at least took off in a substantial manner hand-in-hand with the idea. Every penny spent on climate research, every dime sunk in this effort has the tainted handshake of global warming theory to date. With very few exceptions. Does it mean that the scientists involved in individual papers and projects are dishonest? Hardly. But the endeavor of the study of climate change, as many sciences in their infancy are, is still a pseudoscience.
This endeavor therefore does not deserve, or require reconciliation. I am sure you are aware of the trillions lined up to be invested in ‘alternative energy’, ‘renewables’, ‘clean energy’ and the like under the pretext of the hockey stick. Those investing in this area or those hoping to deprive the hard-earned wages of citizens around the world – the blood and sweat, in these hare-brained schemes – are biding time and waiting for the tide of skepticism to recede. The very skepticism that broke the handle and the blade of the hockey stick.
It would be a monstrous error at this point to conclude that any skeptic requires recognition of any kind from the advocates of anthropogenic alarmist warming or their apologists.
Global warming theory does not have a science dimension alone. To characterize it as a Jones vs McIntyre saga would miss the point completely. Do not call us deniers? What next? “Hey, how come you didn’t send me a e-card on Al Gore Day?”
The warmers are responsible for calling their opposition ‘deniers’. Let them live and die with its usage. It damages their cause every time they use it.
What “reasonable solutions” are we talking about here, Mr Anthony? Wind and solar power? Cap-and-cap? Artificial trees?
There are no solutions to the global warming problem. Let’s not pretend
Regards
Anand
REPLY: Object all you want, I don’t much care about anonymous opinion. But I do think you read too much into one line, by “reasonable solutions” I embrace efforts to reduce all airborne pollution, not just targeted ones. Efforts to reduce soot will also reduce NOx, CO2, CO, O3 and others. We shouldn’t focus exclusively on CO2 IMHO. Witness improved air in California’s big cities. I also embrace energy efficiency, which has similar benefits. – Anthony

James Sexton
March 2, 2010 4:37 pm

Mike Ramsey (16:22:08) : ……”My advice is forget them. It’s not like they are going to convince anybody that they have anything to offer or that the target of their insults is some how lessened…..”
Agreed, I guess, in some social circles, insults simply don’t happen. I’ve never been in one of those. If some troll, or person in front of me for that matter, hurls an insult at me that has no substance, then I know I’m effectively articulating my argument. It’s basically saying, “while I can’t argue with you on the facts, I’ve got nothing to counter with other than, ‘you suck’. I think sometimes people over react to the provocateurs and take personal something said in a very impersonal venue.
That being said, threatening someones children (an example cited) is way over the top, and I truly hope the law has dealt with that person in the most severe way possible.

Phil M
March 2, 2010 4:40 pm

Want a good laugh? Scroll up and count how many times the word “warmer” is used to describe someone pro-AGW.
If I’m a “warmer”, does that make you a “non-warmer”? That sounds suspciously like someone that doesn’t believe the Earth has warmed the last 100+ years…
It’s ridiculous to see a an article like this, on a website that does nothing except actively foster the vitriole and ignorant mean-spiritedness already polluting the science community.

ginckgo
March 2, 2010 4:45 pm

I agree that applying the term ‘denier’ pre-emptively and in a blanket fashion is not appropriate, as many people are true skeptics. However there is large, and very vocal number of people who fit the definition of denier, i.e. no matter how much evidence you show them, the will not change their mind.
Yes, I know you will say there are similar ‘deniers’ of evidence in the AGW camp, and I don’t disagree with that. Just because people agree with my position, does not mean they do it for the right reasons – right for the wrong reasons can be worse that just being wrong.

DocRock117
March 2, 2010 4:46 pm

Sean Peake (12:08:23) :
“If someone really does think that climate change is not happening – that the world is not warming – then it seems fair enough to call them a denier (and I’d love them to explain to me why comma butterflies are flying north to Scotland, for the first time in history, as fast as their jagged little wings will take them)”
“I may be misinformed (I’m NEVER wrong) but I thought these creatures used to reside in Scotland and disappeared (or moved off) over 110 years ago?”
Yes they used to be in Scotland, they were reported in the late 1800’s even up to the 1930’s. The Commas’ range also extends in to Scandanavia. In North America they are found from British Columbia all the way across the continent to Nova Scotia. One of the theorized reasons for their decline in Scotland and Ireland was the washing of Hops as that was thought to be their main food source. Nettles are now considered their main dietary choice and that is probably as much of a factor as anything to their “resurgence”. Nettles are plentiful and widespread throughout that range.
So it is not the first time in history for them to be in that type of climate by any means.

March 2, 2010 4:47 pm

A few days ago there was an article in Guardian’s G2 section about the flat-earth society by David Adam
A version of the article (abridged?) appears here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/global/2010/feb/23/flat-earth-society
As you can see you can (and the Guardian has) insulted climate change skeptics – by assocating them with various conspiracy theory, pseudo-scientific and paranormal beliefs – without ever once using the word “denier”.
(And this is despite the fact, that all important skeptics and luke-warmers are arguing for MORE openness and MORE use of scientific processes and principles, rather than less).
Here’s the first paragraph of the article:-
Daniel Shenton should be the most irrational man in the world. As the new president of the Flat Earth Society, you’d ­imagine he would also think that evolution is a scam and ­global warming a myth. He should ­argue that smoking does not cause ­cancer and HIV does not lead to Aids.
Here’s the 3rd paragraph:-
In fact, Shenton turns out to have resolutely mainstream views on most issues. The 33-year-old American, ­originally from Virginia but now living and working in London, is happy with the work of Charles Darwin. He thinks the evidence for man-made global warming is strong, and he dismisses suggestions that his own government was involved with the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Here’s the 5th paragraph:-
If you thought that flat Earthism was gone, think again. The scientific evidence is stacked against Shenton, ­obviously, just as it is against those who think global warming is a hoax and that the dead stalk the Earth as ghosts – but that doesn’t appear to trouble him in the least.

March 2, 2010 4:49 pm

Phil M (16:40:11) : Want a good laugh? Scroll up and count how many times the word “warmer” is used to describe someone pro-AGW.
I did just that. In 224 comments on this WUWT topic, the word “warmer” is used to describe someone pro-AGW exactly zero times.
Thank you for bringing this up.

paullm
March 2, 2010 4:51 pm

Anthony,
I see no real change in anything but commend you, the mods, guest posters, and most commenters here for maintaining one fantastically well conducted blog.
But don’t lower yourself to the level of the likes (from what I have been able to tell) of those at the Guardian, Ann Turner, Judith Curry, etc. You’ve, as far as I can recall, have always taken the high road and regulated WUWT in that vein – unlike the character of those above noted.
One pet peeve of mine: STOP WITH THE “CLIMATE CHANGE” usage! You, Anthony, in your posted letter, etc. are also guilty of mis-associating “climate change” as a labeling of topic of the debate – it’s not!
For example:
“That simple, single act, recognizing that the term is erroneous, distasteful due to its holocaust denier connotation, and unrepresentative of the position on climate change of many who simply want the science to be right and reasonable solutions enacted would be a watershed event in mending fences.” – Anthony (above)
Alarmists discarded Anthropogenic Global Warming for “climate change” to avoid the failure of their fundamental arguments. Skeptics, most likely inclusively believe climate change as a changing climate has and always will exist. What AGW skeptics don’t agree with is significantly damaging AGW – if it exists at all. GW sure, AGW – maybe, maybe not. Those are the issues of import. As the alarmists have attempted to re-identify labels the debate has been spun and is now dominated by distorted terminology: “climate change” by default. This is a truthful and clarity failure in the debate.
I quite like the following:
2 03 2010
Brian G Valentine (11:17:38) :
Someone in the Washington Post today heeded your guidance, evidently – calling me a “denialist” instead.
Neither myself not Richard Lindzen, object to being labeled a “denier”
The term has become associated with a certain set of convictions that, to my understanding, characterize mine
– I don’t really care being called names if it means the debate is clear and the conclusions understood.

Doug
March 2, 2010 4:52 pm

Deniers is exactly what they are. They are in the same league as those who deny evolution. Their tactics are the same, and generally their political leanings are the same. I don’t see the issue. Call them what they are — deniers.

March 2, 2010 4:54 pm

@Phil M:
I can speak for anybody else, but I’d personally be happy to change terminology, if better options are available.
Can you tell me a polite, but concise collective term, and not value loaded (neither for or against), that should be used instead of “warmer” for those accepting the IPCC position?
e.g. George Monbiot, Phil Jones, and Michael Mann are all _____________
Can you tell me a polite, but concise collective term, and not value loaded (neither for or against), that should be used for those predicting far more extreme scenarios than the IPCC
e.g. People who predict the world population will fall by half by 2050, and sea-levels will rise 20 meters by then as well, because of climate change are ___________________.

Bruce Cobb
March 2, 2010 4:55 pm

Mike (13:17:17) :
So, do you all agree to stop calling AGW a “hoax”? I do not know if that term has been used on this blog, but it certainly gets used a lot.
I don’t believe it is used at all here, or if so it would be rare, because it would be incorrect, and doesn’t do the enormity of the harm that CAGW/CC has done, continues to do, and threatens to do in the future justice.
A good example of a hoax would be what Penn and Teller pulled on a group of unsuspecting, clueless “Greeny types” at a rally, where they had a petition to ban dihydrogen monoxide. All of those people would, of course believe in CAGW/CC.
Instead, the phrase that seems to describe it best is probably Cargo Cult Science: From wikipedia: “cargo cult scientists conduct flawed research that fails to produce useful results. Feynman cautioned that to avoid becoming cargo cult scientists, researchers must first of all avoid fooling themselves, be willing to question and doubt their own theories and their own results, and investigate possible flaws in a theory or an experiment.”

paullm
March 2, 2010 5:01 pm

2 03 2010
Phil M (16:40:11) :
Want a good laugh? Scroll up and count how many times the word “warmer”…
I acknowledge that all AGW alarmists may not be alarmists. You may be an AGWer, but then I may be also. Then there is not debate. However, when you describe the discussion here as “…vitriole and ignorant mean-spiritedness…” I would be inclined to believe you are an AGW alarmist.
How would you like to be identified as, Phil – related to the AGW matter, of course?

JackStraw
March 2, 2010 5:05 pm

Oh the humanity! When Revkin is forced to live without power for 2 whole days, the Prius gets parked and the burning of “recycled carbon” commences.

Gaia wept.

Dan in California
March 2, 2010 5:06 pm

(14:06:25)
REPLY: Troll is usually applied to somebody who posts anonymously, and I’ve used the term since it started on early BBS’s and not in climate debate. -A
Anthony: I don’t use my full name because I am an officer of a US company. The law states that anything I say or write is company policy. My opinions and comments here are personal, not official. I think there is a big difference between the commonly accepted definition of “troll” and somebody who just wants or needs to be anonymous.

Richard M
March 2, 2010 5:07 pm

Neven (15:34:45) :
The rise of these elements has further been made possible by an ongoing PR campaign to discredit AGW theory and climate science in general in order to delay action on AGW and maintain the status quo for financial and/or ideological reasons. This PR campaign is more difficult to discern if it can be hidden under the guise of skepticism.
This is not atypical of the paranoid nature of alarmists. Maybe it’s part of this personality defect that attracts them to AGW. Sorry Neven, there is no PR campaign. Just concerned scientists and citizens. Get over it.

Richard M
March 2, 2010 5:10 pm

Phil M (16:40:11) :
It’s ridiculous to see a an article like this, on a website that does nothing except actively foster the vitriole and ignorant mean-spiritedness already polluting the science community.
Stage 2 … anger.

Ian Cooper
March 2, 2010 5:10 pm

Anthony,
this is not only good practice to refrain from ‘tagging’ the opposition, but it is also good tactics to show that bloggers here are focussed on highlighting the fact that we are sceptical of the information being put out, often through MSM sources such as the Guardian, in the name of global warming alarmism.
I will take a leaf out of Robert E. Lee’s book. Marse Robert couldn’t bring himself to refer to the Federal Army as, “The Enemy,” choosing in stead to call them, “those people.” This is not to say that I think we will go the way of Robert E Lee, in stead if there is an historical comparison I prefer to see this lengthy struggle in terms of WW II. I see Climate Gate as the turning point comparable to El Alemein in the west and Stalingrad in the east. Churchill summed it up best when he said, “Before El Alemein there were no victories. After El Alemein there were no defeats!”
JDubya
Well said mate! You touched on something that is often overlooked, and that is the desire to see Mankind at the centre of the universe, despite all of the evidence to the contrary. Many people just can’t bear the thought that we are really insignificant in the great scheme of things. We HAVE to be shown to be leaving a significant mark on our planet albeit a bad one. We HAVE to be seen to be in control of nature (despite the fact that there are hundreds of examples that prove otherwise). Arrogance and ignorance go hand in hand when it comes to promoting this belief. If one doesn’t believe that we have that much influence on the planet then the believers label that person a ‘denier.’ Perhaps a hundred years ago the term, ‘heretic,’ would have been applied. Of course CAGW isn’t a religion, is it?

paullm
March 2, 2010 5:12 pm

Hey, Dough!
2 03 2010
Doug (16:52:39) :
Deniers is exactly what they are. They are in the same league as those who deny evolution. Their tactics are the same, and generally their political leanings are the same. I don’t see the issue. Call them what they are — deniers.
I believe we have considered AGW but have concluded that the hard line held by destructively significant AGWers (alarmists) “believers” is likely wrong.
What to call “destructive significant AGWers believers” skeptics? How about that (DSAGWerBSs for short) or Questioners? Whatever. Just get the debate on AGW right. Forget the “climate change” thing.

paullm
March 2, 2010 5:13 pm

Hey, Doug! – not Dough, sorry.

Anand
March 2, 2010 5:14 pm

“Object all you want, I don’t much care about anonymous opinion.”
Do I consider my self an anonymous poster? I’ve always posted under my real name. My email address is entered. I can provide any personal information you might request. I addressed you directly in my post to ask you specifically the questions that rose in my mind. If you don’t care much, well I dont know what to say, except – thanks for your honesty! 🙂
Those advocating anthropogenic warming will derive credibility from association with skeptical voices, and not the other way around. It is better for the lines between these two disparate entities – the ‘warmers’ and the ‘deniers’ – to remain distinct for a good time to come.
You conflate CO2 control – an economic issue with air pollution – an environmental issue. This is a fundamental problem, I’m sure you are aware. All the world leaders did not gather at Copenhagen to ‘cool the world’, did they?
I will venture to apologize if I came across as offensive. Its just rhetoric, believe me. 🙂
Regards
Anand

David Ball
March 2, 2010 5:18 pm

Phil M(16:40:11) : is pretending that there is no censorship on his choice of blogs. Phil M take a step back and think about what you wrote. Ridiculous. Man, there seem to be a lot of pro-AGW comments on here of late, and they are getting increasingly shrill. I could give a (snip) what anyone calls me. Prove that Co2 drives climate, prove that warming is bad, prove that increased Co2 is bad. Call me what you like. I have survived a lot worse.

James Sexton
March 2, 2010 5:18 pm

Phil M (16:40:11) :
Want a good laugh? Scroll up and count how many times the word “warmer” is used to describe someone pro-AGW. ……blah, blah,blah….
lol, you’re not really that dense are you? Does warmer carry the same connotations as denier? But, I digress, if you indeed are in the same camp as for instance, Mike Mann, then I’d call you an alarmist (hopefully invoking visions of Chicken Little frantically running around, flapping your wings/arms, screaming “The sky is falling!!! The sky is falling!!!” )
On a totally different perspective of your statement, you being pro-AGW, are you stating you’re advocating AGW? Because, that would put you in an entirely different camp.

Jack
March 2, 2010 5:19 pm

I think that Mr. Watt’s position is the right one, if for no other reason than to emphasize the seriousness of the matter. “Yeah, yeah, call us names and get over it. But now you have to look at this.”
They have cheated; they have massaged the data to support their conclusions; and it is something that they have documented themselves.
That is why, even as yet, they have not released all of the data and all of the computer coding.

March 2, 2010 5:19 pm

I was getting used to being labelled as a denier.
I was also waiting for the tide to turn in favour of the real science and be able to label the warmmongers as deniers. Deniers of the real climate science.
do you think the Gaurdian are just putting up their gaurd for when the tide turns: and they want a little more sympathy for being the real deniers.
I think i would still regard them as enviroMENTALlists

K-Bob
March 2, 2010 5:23 pm

To deny something requires that something in the past must have happened and you “deny” that it happened. So would that mean that Mann and others are denying the MWP? or are we denying the hockey stick.
First and foremost, we are “Skeptics of Future Global Warming Alarmism” and question the extent to which man contributes.

JohnD
March 2, 2010 5:28 pm

C’mon, just a little more smash mouth, please?
With mercilessly self righteousness, AGWarmists have bludgeoned non-carbonCultists for years with all sorts of Gaiacidal invective, in addition to “denier”.
Yet now we’re supposed to talk pretty to them because the scam is exposed?
Not only do I call giving-it-back-to-them-with-both-barrels a right just piece of my mind, it let’s them know there’s consequences to acting like a bunch of moralizing hyenas.
The higher ground is punishing AGW frauds and their accomplices, to lessen the possibility that it happen again.
Perp walk the bastards!

Philemon
March 2, 2010 5:50 pm

berniel (14:51:56) :
“Bishop Hill posted some curious notes about a meeting of press and others at Oxford Uni last Friday. ”
That link was hilarious.
One cannot hope to bribe or twist,

Thank God! the British journalist

But seeing what the man will do

Unbribed, there’s no occasion to.
Humbert Wolfe: The Uncelestial City 1930

3x2
March 2, 2010 6:05 pm

While attempting to build bridges is a laudable activity my big ol’ oil funded crystal ball tells me that the Guardian will be back to what we know an loathe at soonest.
Hearings out of the way, xgates forgotten and a bit of warm weather will see the machine back to running speed. They just can’t help themselves.
I have found it absolutely impossible to be too cynical when it comes to these people and a few weasel words from them won’t change that.
Keep your friends close but your enemies firmly on the ground with your boot on their collective throats.

John Whitman
March 2, 2010 6:32 pm

Anthony,
I respect your request about using labels, I will follow it on your blog site.
In order to do this, them my interpretation of your request will be:
1. Do not stereotype individuals.
2. Even if it is done to me, firmly point out to the other person what they are doing and say tell them it is bad behavior
3. Given that satire uses stereotyping and labels and satire is a powerful vehicle for exposing fallacies, I will clearly say when I am starting a satire and when ending one.
4. Humor is a borderline grayish area that relies on some of the stereotyping and labeling. Please be quite tolerant of humor. But I will agree to try to use discipline when using humor.
5. When quoting others in my comment responses, I will not use their labels or stereotyping in my quotes. Maybe I call out their use of stereotypes/labels in some witty way.
Deal. No problema.
John

AlexB
March 2, 2010 6:33 pm

Well Anthony you are a bigger man than me. It’s fair enough to have opinion pieces but there is useful opinion and then there is unconstructive hateful ranting which any respectable media company shouldn’t publish. I for one will not be gracing the guardian with my web traffic because of the likes of the opinion pieces it is willing to run with. I don’t want to read something like that on either side of the debate.
I’m glad we have people like you or problems would never get solved.

John Whitman
March 2, 2010 6:40 pm

Moderators,
So, why do I think you are going to be doing some heavier lifting for a while?
Heh, a metaphorical pay raise perhaps?
Some comps or perks?
Expense paid moderator conferences in Bali?
John

George E. Smith
March 2, 2010 6:47 pm

Well they use a lot of weasel words trying to avoid the D-word; such as to immdeiately claim that: “On the other hand there are some who are literally in denial about the evidence. ”
No you clowns; we just see the evidence differently from some of you.
The IPCC and its devotees for example, see that the global mean temperature varies Logarithmically with the atmospheric CO2 abundance; and they even name that universal constant of proportionality as “Climate Sensitivity”; for which they claim a value of 3 deg C per doubling of CO2; thereby choosing a base 2 system of Logarithms (which is perfectly fine, since the base matters not a jot.)
But when it comes to the value of their Universal constant; they vacilate, and say it could be off by a factor of three; so somewhere beteween 1 and 10.
The problem is that there is no peer reviewed (observed or proxy) climate data comprising CO2 abundance, and mean global temperature, for ANY time interval out to the last 600 million years, for which such a logarithmic function fits the data any better than any other assumed relationship; including a linear relationship; as exemplified by the famous data published in Al Gore’;s book; “An Inconvenient truth.” pages 66/67, where the two curves for the last 650,000 years are exactly the same (basic) shape, and are clearly NOT logarithmically related.
So we don’t deny the data; at least that which has been made available without undisclosed mastication.
And we reach entirely different conclusions from some of you folks who cling to the idea that man is in control of the climate; and we reach those sorts of conclusions that we do, on the basis of good scientific evidence and reasoning.
All YOU have to do, is to PROVE with either good peer reviewed measured data; and good Physical models for the behavior such data exemplifies; that the climate is changing significantly outside the bounds of natural variability, and past history; and we will listen.
You might try listening to why we don’t follow your course of argument.
How come you don’t seem to mention cloud cover a lot in your AGWMMCC dissertations ?

Jeff Alberts
March 2, 2010 6:53 pm

“Climate Skeptics” isn’t accurate either. We aren’t skeptical of climate, or climate change. We are skeptical of the science behind AGW.

David44
March 2, 2010 6:54 pm

Perhaps we should all employ this little aphorism from American author and journalist Mignon McLaughlin: “Don’t be yourself – be someone a little nicer.”

Ben W
March 2, 2010 6:56 pm

Well done and well said, Mr. Watts.

Jeff Alberts
March 2, 2010 6:59 pm

My position has been that there is no debate that the earth has warmed over the past 100+ years, but that the magnitude of the measured warming and the cause(s) remain in debate.

My position is that there hasn’t been any “global” warming over the last 10000 years that is statistically significant. certainly there has been regional warming, cooling and stasis, but nothing global at all.

John Whitman
March 2, 2010 7:13 pm

””’George E. Smith (18:47:59) : Well they use a lot of weasel words trying to avoid the D-word; such as to immdeiately claim that: “On the other hand there are some who are literally in denial about the evidence.” ”””’
George,
Yes, you are correct. There are infinite ways for media and advocates (including scientific ones) to state/imply that skeptics of the scientific theory of CAGW are purposefully ignoring or disputing data.
Cheer up, the good news is there are infinite number of ways we can articulate skeptical rebuttals and arguments.
It is better we enjoy our work, even if it is very serious work and makes us angry sometimes. Well, maybe a lot of the time. Even so, fun and positive attitude. Rah rah. WUWT has a lot of fun mixed into the serious business at hand.
John

March 2, 2010 7:15 pm

If I tell someone that the evidence before me does not seem to add up to the conclusion the offer does that make me a ‘denier’ or a ‘skeptic’ ?
If someone tells me that God talks to them and offer evidence for it does it not bode well for me to be skeptical?
If a scientist says something is true then do I have to believe what he says even though my own mind suggests something different based on the knowledge and background I have?
If we never question and simply accept, especially when the evidence suggests that the science may be flawed then we become nothing more then zealots clinging to the words of people who say they no better then we do. Now that is not to say I am right or that they are wrong only that the only possible way that information can be absorbed in a rational way is through repeatable experimentation being skeptical enough to wait until evidence shows truth.
Just my two cents, please do not enter into religious arguments with me the idea was to show that just because someone says they talk with God it does not mean they do or do not only that it behooves me to be skeptical of it.

Anand
March 2, 2010 7:25 pm

Mr Anthony
I’ve given this some thought.
I think I owe you thanks for the opportunity to post here. But I always thought a moderator read or rapidly screened and was aware of my contributions via posts made here. If I indeed did hear a “don’t care for anonymous opinion” I interpret it thus.
Those who post here are nobodies to you – personally. This is generally true of Internet/BBS/forum interaction; I am just stating the obvious and not at all in a weepy whiny sort of way. The polarized opinions expressed thereof, and the strong stance that people are able to take in online debates doesn’t matter to you – as they are carried out in the safety of anonymity. In this instance it is because you are after all as a meteorologist and popular blogger in touch with the people from the print and visual media and rightly indignant that these people do not falsely characterize you (and anyone in your position) crudely as a ‘denier’.
The other face of this anonymity that devalues opinions such as mine – is that what I say matters, not who I am. When I ‘objected’ to what you posted, I expected only a response to what I said, not a dismissal based on the fact that I was anonymous.
Please read the above in a matter-of-fact tone. I would say the same things if we met in person, for example. I am the same person that posts here. 🙂
Mahalo

Bill Befort
March 2, 2010 7:26 pm

Fine work! Even something like a breakthrough. And if you can persuade the media to consider how their facile application of the label “environmentalist” has been darkening counsel for 40 years, we’ll really be making progress.

Physics Major
March 2, 2010 7:30 pm

This is a huge step in the right direction. Let’s all stop the name calling and discuss the science in a polite way.

CRS, Dr.P.H.
March 2, 2010 7:58 pm

Actually, I prefer to wear the label “climate heretic.” Seems more appropriate.
Well done, Anthony, thanks for engaging these folks and getting a response!

Allan M R MacRae
March 2, 2010 8:02 pm

For a decade now we have been labelled “global warming deniers”.
Richard Lindzen now clearly enjoys the term, and I do too.
It is a badge of honour for those of us who have withstood vile attempts at intimidation, ostracization and threats of violence from the fanatical advocates of the Mann-made global warming movement.
The shame is on the warming alarmists for their odious behavior, so let them wear that shame with the disgrace it truly deserves.
I am a global warming denier, and I am proud of it.

March 2, 2010 8:09 pm

Check out the first vid: click

Konrad
March 2, 2010 8:25 pm

While I may object to the term “Denier” which I see a as a term of vilification, I do not necessarily object to those seeking to attack skeptics using it. Little Brother has been watching and recording a vast amount of venomous commentary by AGW fellow travelers. I for one will never forgive nor forget. Terms like “denier”, “contrarian” and “big oil shill” make for easy searching of the huge body of evidence stored across the Internet, implicating the many governments, organizations and individuals who have brought us to the brink of a global disaster. Their continued use of terms of vilification in their increasingly shrill defense of the indefensible simply makes future identification of those who sought to promote personal or political agendas through the AGW hoax easier.
My attitude may seem less than Christian at a time when there is talk of greater engagement and understanding, however the hidden elements of the failed Copenhagen treaty should serve as a serious warning against appeasement. The AGW movement has been a threat to science, genuine environmental concerns, freedom and democracy. A great number of those involved in this global scam should not be allowed to slink away from their past behavior. So many trouble makers hiding behind the one dying stalking horse is a unique opportunity that it would be unwise to miss.
The fellow travelers in the AGW hoax are presently shocked and confused, but they will regroup. There will be new stalking horses and a similar agenda. The continuing use of terms of vilification in support of the AGW hoax should be encouraged. In the age of Little Brother this can be used to minimize the influence of those promoting the present scam in their future endeavors. Let them call us “deniers”, many years of petulant silence from the AGW believers should be well worth it. Imagine a few decades free from post normal science, MSM advocacy journalese, “Traffic Light” environmentalism, global governance and global taxation.

James Sexton
March 2, 2010 8:41 pm

Anand (19:25:05) :
I can’t fight Anthony’s fight for him. But,………………………………………………………………………..That depends, if what you are responding to is what Anthony posted, and if it is a legitimate critique, then you should post your name and you should be responded to. Truly, if the response is legitimate, myself and you included, have seen that he does. You know it is contingent of whether he can respond in the post or not. Yes, I’ve seen him cut people out because of their anonymity. We all have. I can only surmise as to why, but I’ve never seen the person come back and restate their assertions with their real names. I wonder, is it because Anthony doesn’t allow dissenting views, or is it that people are afraid to post their names to their views. What’s the worst that can happen? Being called a denier?

John Whitman
March 2, 2010 8:45 pm

WUWT Team,
I personally would rather be commenting here among people using their real names. It is a personal preference and I naturally have a greater margin of respect for those who do.
I do have an idea for how to encourage commenters to use their real names.
Create a positive benefit for those who use their real names without having anonymous commenters losing any of their current ability to comment. A wild idea might be to creat a small WUWT subarea where commenting anonymously is not allowed. Anonymous visitors could see the activity in the small area, but would not be allowed to post. In the common area of WUWT [like is currently done] both anonymous and non-anonymous commenters can both post together. You could try this idea in a beta test period to see how it works out.
Maybe a bad idea, just an idea. I am sure there could be many ways to satisfy anonymous and real name commenters.
I have no idea how you could really distinguish whether a person’s name is their real one or not.
John

James Sexton
March 2, 2010 8:52 pm

I wonder, what qualifies as a denier? Is it the “you can’t prove the earth is getting warmer.” statement? Does that make me a denier? Maybe the earth getting warmer isn’t really bad. Does that make me a denier? What about, “CO2 isn’t significant enough to make it warmer.” Does that make me one? I just wish someone would tell me what constitutes a “denier”, then I would know if I were one or not. Maybe, it is that I don’t believe there ever was a consensus beyond Phil, Mike and Jim……maybe Keith too, but I’m not sure those mentioned really believed the BS they spewed.